Review – Vampires Don’t Sparkle!

Vampires Don't Sparkle! Needing some holiday reading (what, you don’t read horror at the holidays!?) I got myself a copy to read over Christmas, and can I just tell you how wonderful it is! It is! So wonderful! I mean that. It’s dark. The vampires are evil, depraved creatures. The people are terrified and bloody. It’s full of all that is awesome about vampire stories.

I used to love vampire stories. I say used to because they lost the wicked that was part of the myth. These are evil creatures hunting and feasting on humans not kind vampires who are happy chasing down wildlife and feeling guilty about it. Cruelty has been reinserted into their personalities once more with this collection. And I like it. Happy go lucky vampires are not my thing.

The stories and authors in this collection:

A New Life by J. F. Gonzalez

What Once was Flesh by Tim Waggoner

The Darkton Circus Mystery by Elizabeth Massie

Robot Vampire by R. J. Sullivan

Beneath a Templar Cross by Gord Rollo

The Weapon of Memory by Kyle S. Johnson

The Excavation by Stephen Zimmer

Skraeling by Joel A. Sutherland

Dreams of Winter by Bob Freeman

Dracula’s Winkee: Bloodsucker Blues by Gregory L. Hall

I Fuck Your Sunshine by Lucy A. Snyder

A Soldier’s Story by Maurice Broaddus

Rattenkönig by Douglas F. Warrick

Vampire Nation by Jerry Gordon

Curtain Call by Gary A. Braunbeck

Favorites, because I have a few:

The Darkton Circus Mystery by Elizabeth Massie — A traveling circus full of wonders but what if one of those wonders is a blood sucking beast kept hidden and abused? What would happen if the mystery were solved?

Beneath a Templar Cross by Gord Rollo — How far will someone go to exact revenge? Far.

Skraeling by Joel A. Sutherland — Vampires in a frozen wasteland. As if you didn’t have enough to worry about.

Rattenkönig by Douglas F. Warrick — What if things, unexplainable things, appears in your house? Would you fight? Or would you succumb?

If you crave vampires without the sparkle, go ahead, get lost in this book like I did. Another great thing about this book, a part of the proceeds will go to support cancer research.

No sparkles, if it pleases.

Thanks to Andrea at Little Red Reviewer for mentioning this one.

Vampires Don’t Sparkle

Edited by Michael West

Seventh Star Press

ISBN: 9781937929602



I cleaned out my email and found…

Some things I want to share.

The importance of Ron Weasley. Yes, he’s important people, but no, he’s not my favorite either. However, this essay did make a compelling case for loving Ron.

Gender in science fiction and why it matters, and should be discussed is the focus of this column. I share because it’s an interesting topic.

AwesomeCon and Billie Piper is going to be there! And more reasons to come to DC in April.

I’ve got several reviews I need to write today including Red Rising by Pierce Brown and The Book of Apex: Volume 4 which was amazing and will probably be the most difficult review I have to write this month; so many great things I don’t know where to start. Also, I need to get started on my review of Vampires Don’t Sparkle. Another amazing read.

Speaking of vampires, this discussion on vampires on reddit is fantastic. Feel free to fall down this rabbit hole.

I’ve been reading Black Bottle by Anthony Huso which is the sequel to The Last Page. It’s long and I’m half way through and want to finish this post so I can go sit on my couch and read. Priorities, people. I have them.

Enjoy today.

Review – Salem’s Lot

I’ve been re-reading a lot lately. I tend to re-read when I’m in a slump but earlier this year I decided I would pick up several books that I kept meaning to re-read and actually do it. So I did. This is one of those books. After finishing 11/22/63 last year, I wanted more King but what I wanted was old King. Salem’s Lot seemed like a perfect match. The last time I picked this one up I was high school and I’m glad to know this one still delivers. It was as creepy as I remembered.

Ben Mears is a writer looking for inspiration and believes he’ll find it in Jerusalem’s Lot, Salem’s Lot to the locals, where he spent several happy years as a child living with his aunt. He’s also planned to exorcize a few demons while writing his next book and he thinks he know what will give him the inspiration to do it — the old Marsten house in Salem’s Lot which gave him nightmares as a child. Ben tried to rent the old house but as it turned out, it was already sold. The house, which was the place of a murder/suicide, is now home to something much more sinister. When strange things begin happening around town, and the dead start disappearing, Ben and a few friends go hunting for more than just the truth about the strange rumors in town.

The start moves slow but builds quickly once the people start disappearing. Isn’t it always that way? While it takes more than vampires to be creepy these days (at least none of these sparkle in the sun!), King does what he does best, creep you out by making you think that noise you heard was really nails tapping on your window and not a tree branch. Yes, pale faces hovering at second story windows, nails tapping on the glass, eyes as black as coal, teeth long and pointy, blood, and gore all about to happen. Oh, good fun. The vampire myths are pretty straight forward in this book — stakes through the heart, garlic, crosses — and I liked the simplicity there. I also liked that they were dead and dead-looking. There was no attraction to these monsters. The aspect that religion plays is small but I liked that it was included, and I liked even better that it came in the form of an alcoholic priest with faltering faith. Really, what a better way to fight vampires than a priest who doesn’t believe what he preaches. I’m not calling it out for hypocrisy but for reality. I liked that about the priest.

I read horror every once in a while and always enjoy the genre when I read it. I’ll even say that there are very few books that scare me, but for the first time in a long time, I found myself reading this book strictly during daytime hours and switching to another book to read in bed. The reason? Well, at first, I didn’t think much of it because when I’m reading two books I tend to consider one a day book and one a night book. In this case, I think my subconscious made the decision for me. Who am I kidding; I didn’t want to imagine ghostly white faces hovering outside my bedroom window. There I said it.

So, yes, it was worth the re-read. Now I need to see what other King I have on my list and get to it. It’s nice to re-discover an author every few years.

Salem’s Lot

By Stephen King

Pocket Books

ISBN: 067103975X

4 stars

Books & Movies – Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

I saw this trailer yesterday and it made me think that some books do make better movies. I read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter last year and it was okay. My review is here if you’re interested. Oddly, this book was bought by my husband who may have been thrown off by Abraham Lincoln in the title because, as far as I know, he doesn’t read anything with vampires in it.

Here’s the trailer. Planning to see it? Have you read the book or are you planning to read the book because of the movie?

Review – Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

By Seth Grahame-Smith

Grand Central Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-446-56308-6

3.5 stars

This is the last mashup I plan to read.  Of course, when I make statements like that, something always happens to change my mind.  I don’t particularly dislike this new…what are we calling this anyway?  The reason I say this is because, honestly, I’ve had enough.  Vampires and zombies, it’s been fun but I need to see others.

In Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, we meet Abe.  Abe is a young man with dreams, ambition, and a life on the brink of change when his family comes in contact with a strange and powerful man.  It’s those powers that cause his mother’s early death and his pastoral life becomes hell.  Real hell when he finds out that vile creatures of myth actually exist.  After the painful death of his mother, he vows to rid the world of the pestilence known as the undead.  On a reckless hunt, Abe is injured and comes to meet a man named Henry who teaches him not only about vampires but how to kill them.  Taking the knowledge to heart, Abe begins to kill all the vampires he can becoming one of the most powerful vampire hunters in the U.S.  It’s then that Henry asks even more of him — to become President to help rid the U.S. of vampires that would like to see all humans becomes their eventual slaves.

The story is told by a writer who has been given a secret journal, and provided he tell the true tale of Abraham Lincoln letting no information slip as to the contents of his manuscript and where the information came from, he will finally find fame as a writer.  It’s an interesting concept, BUT, I couldn’t see it.  It was highly readable; in fact, I read it pretty much in one sitting.  The problem is that it wasn’t a complete buy-in for me.  In Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, I was OK with Elizabeth Bennett kicking zombie ass because she’s tough, smart, and can be calculating.  Also, it was funny.  In Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters, I was willing to be taken for a ride and somehow I was all right with Marianne battling giant squids.  This felt lost in translation for me.  I kept reading wondering where the joke was but it was all too somber — Abe having nightmares about his family dying, his own horrific death, the Civil War being fought by vampires.  It needed something funny to make it work but it wasn’t there.  It was all so serious and I couldn’t take it that way.  It was Abraham Lincoln, the man who managed against all odds to keep the Union together, fighting vampires.  There should be a joke in there somewhere!

I can’t say I didn’t like it and I can’t say I liked it.  There’s already a lot out there on this one and I’m going to leave it at that.  If you like vampire books, it’s interesting but not entirely satisfying.  If you like mashups, it’s one more for the stack.

It’s Monday and I got nothin’

Ok, not entirely true but somewhat.  I’ve been hoping to get back to a regular blog rhythm this year but I seem to have turned into a cold and flu magnet and I haven’t felt like doing much writing.  After two rounds of antibiotics and a few days on the couch, I’m finally feeling good enough to sit up and thought I’d take a minute (a short one) to talk about a few of the books I read last week.

The Last Pendragon: A Story of Dark Age Wales by Sarah Woodbury — This was a Nook read.  I found it while looking at my Nook library online and downloaded it.  My love of Arthurian Legend always compels me to do these things.  It won’t top my best of list but it did help me get out of a slump.  There are some supernatural elements in this one that most Arthurian stories don’t have and while I’m not a huge fan of those additions to this story, it worked here.  It adheres to the basic story and many of the required elements are present — the sword in a stone, love, a merlin-like character, etc.  It was more character than plot driven but I’m all right with that.  All in all, interesting.


The Woman in Black by Susan Hill — I love ghost stories and when I found out my library had this one, I wanted it.  It delivered on the creepy front.  It’s tension filled and can make you want to turn the lights on in every room of your house.  On the surface it might seem a bit tame — a young lawyer is sent to handle the affairs of a deceased client who lived on a small, isolated island in the north of England.  What he finds is a town unwilling to share information about the woman whose affairs he’s handling and even less willing to talk about the house and property she owned.  Nothing is explained at first and that adds to the story being this dark spot in a small town’s history.  I loved it.


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness — As soon as this book entered my house I wanted to read it.  I put it off at first but then gave in as soon as possible.  I don’t really know what to say about this one because I loved it so so much.  Being sick makes it hard for me to read sometimes but I couldn’t put this book down.  The characters all worked for me, the story was complicated, it mixed science and history, and it was a book about a book.  Books about books always entice me.  It was also about witches, vampires, and daemons.  I thought I was sick of the vampire thing but they worked in this book.  I adored the cover too and yes I mentioned that in another post already.

I think my next book is going to be Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDivitt.  I have a non-fiction book about Jamestown but I don’t think I’ll be able to comprehend that one in my current condition.  I also have Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen so my next few days are happily covered.

My Favorite Reads – I Am Legend

Alyce from At Home With Books features one of her favorite reads each Thursday and this week my pick is…

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.

From the back cover: Robert Neville the last living man on Earth…but he is not alone.  Every other man, woman, and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood.

By day, he is a hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization.  By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?

My thoughts: I know what you’re thinking…not another vampire book.  Recently, I featured The Historian, and yep, I seem to be feeling a theme.  OK readers, it is October, let’s all have a bit o’ creepy fun.  🙂  I know we’re all sick of the vampire thing but humor me — these are the GOOD ones.

I Am Legend is not your typical vampire book.  In fact, it’s more like science fiction.  (As a side note, this book was written in the 50s but takes place in the mid-70s.)  The world that Robert Neville lives in has been decimated by a disease and that disease has turned the world’s population into bloody thirsty fiends.  He spends his days alone trying not to descend into the darkness that inhabits his mind and of course vampire proofing his house and trawling empty grocery and hardware stores for supplies.  In many ways, it’s worse than actually facing the vampire hordes because all of what he experiences is more than possible without the vampire threat looming in the background.  The depression that comes from loneliness, the vampire-imposed confinement, and the vampire taunts that lull him to sleep each night only add to the tension.  In addition to being a vampire book, it’s also a psychological study into how much we as humans can take mentally.

The ending, and no I won’t be revealing too much here, is a strange bit of irony in that Robert Neville becomes the hunted.  I won’t say it’s a twist on the vampire tale but it makes for a much more exciting ending, at least for me.

Will Smith stared in the movie that came out in 2007.  Here’s the I Am Legend IMDB page if you’re interested.  I liked the movie but much was changed, and while it was good, I preferred the book.  Did you expect me to say anything else?!  🙂

Dracula in Love

Dracula in Love

By Karen Essex


ISBN: 978-0-385-52891-7

3 stars

I’ll be upfront, I read a few early reviews and wasn’t so sure this book was for me.  I decided that I still needed to give it a chance though.  After reading it, I decided that it wasn’t the book for me and I like vampire stories and have a very deep affection for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  This book followed the same epistolary style but was told from Mina Murray’s point of view.  Mina is a character that I happen to like from the original and that was the reason for my deciding to give it a go.

Mina Murray is teaching and happily waiting to become Mrs. Jonathan Harker and begin her married life.  Wanting to be prepared for their future together, Jonathan takes a short sojourn working for a foreign count to help their finances and further his career.  While Jonathan is away, Mina visits her friend Lucy Westenra and becomes involved in her friend’s love affairs.  She also starts having odd dreams and feelings that she can’t share with anyone.  When she gets a letter telling her that Jonathan is gravely ill, she rushes to his side to nurse him back to health.  In the coming weeks, Mina’s strange dreams start to become her reality, her husband confesses an affair, her friend dies, and somehow she ends up in an insane asylum.  It is then that her dream lover comes to her rescue.

Several of the reviews I read noted the amount of sex; some found it too much, others didn’t seem to think anything of it.  The story takes place in Victorian England so sex, while deeply thought about, wasn’t much talked about, and yes, that is a big part of the story here as it was in the original as well.  The sex, amount of or lack of depending on how feel about these things, didn’t bother me but the silly references about it were annoying and slightly cumbersome in places.

While most of the same characters appear (Dr. Seward, Arthur Holmwood, Jonathan Harker, Dr.Van Helsing, Lucy Westenra) they have been changed slightly and some have become so maddening that I wanted to slap a few — Seward in particular who seemed to diagnose each and every woman he met with some sex related disease of the mind.  What I found annoying about this was that I felt I was once again being reminded about the Victorian sex mindset and I didn’t need that.

The last 100 pages of this book were much better than the 267 preceding pages.  And though I won’t mention it here, Mina’s character is given a new, life shall we say, that adds an interesting, if somewhat strange twist, to the story.  It didn’t work for me, but as long as you’re not a purist, it probably won’t provide the “really?” moment for you as it did for me.

If you’re looking for a vampire/Dracula story with a little different take, this one might be for you.  I found it a bit sluggish but a relatively fast read for a weekend.

This book was sent to me by the publisher for review.