Top Ten Tuesday : Halloween

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic :

Halloween Freebie

With the exception of one of my chosen topics (the adaptation – which I loved btw and highly recommend) all the books below have been fairly recent reads that have been read during the last 12/13 months.  I was going to go all old-school horror but decided I’d like to use this topic to look at some more recent reads that I’ve enjoyed and are perfect for this time of the year.

Haunting/Ghostly

Later by Stephen King

Later

Favourite Adaptation

Dr Sleep by Stephen King

drsleep

Vampire

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

SBC

Creature Feature

Near the Bone by Christina Henry

nearthebone

Psychological/Thriller

Come With Me by Ronald Malfi

Comewithme

Gothic 

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Shapeof

Slasher Style

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Final

Fictional retelling of true crime

In the Garden of Spite (aka Triflers Need Not Apply) by Camilla Bruce

Gardenof

Horror/Thriller

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Last house

Dystopian horror

The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier

Phlebotomist

“But, oh, Mina, I love him; I love him; I love him!” #Spooktasticreads #Vampires

Spook

Image credit: Photo by Mark Tegethoff on Unsplash

As part of Wyrd and Wonder’s #Spooktasticreads I thought today would be a good time to shine the light on some Vampire stories.  I’ve not tried to capture everything here but have gone for a selection of some of my favourites.  Tomorrow I will be reviewing my most recent Vampire novel – Dracul by Dacre Stoker

  1. Dracula by Bram Stoker one of the earliest vampire stories.  A classic and a firm favourite.  Told in epistolary style this really is a must read.Dracula
  2. The True Blood series by Charlaine Harris.  The Sookie Stackhouse books are a great deal of fun.  They’re saucy and have everything from vampires and shapeshifters to fae.  I did kind of tail off a little towards the end but even so a series that’s well worth picking up.Dead until
  3. I am Legend by Richard Matheson.  This is not a book that you could ever class as fun – watching one man’s slow spiral into loneliness and madness is difficult – but this book is worth the read.  The ending – that is all.I am Legend
  4. Twelve by Jasper Kent.  This is the start of a series about the voordalak (vampires by another name).  Set in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars this is a series that spans time concluding during the final years of the Romanov family.  This is not a tale for the faint of heart.  Twelve
  5. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.  This is one of a few books where I actually saw the film first and whilst I can’t deny that Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Christian Slater were running around in my head during the read I still thoroughly enjoyed this.Interview
  6. The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black.  A YA standalone.  Coldtowns are places where vampires, the infected and humans mix together.  Once you’ve entered you can never leave. Coldest
  7. Sunshine by Robin McKinley.  Set in an alternative universe where ‘others’ exist Sunshine is the main character who’s own special abilities lead to a partnership with her worst enemy.Sunshine
  8. Fevre Dream by GRRMartin.  Well, George Martin doesn’t do anything by half measures and his vampire novel is no different.  Think the antebellum era, The Mississippi and steam ships – then fill them with dangerous creatures and let the blood flow.Fevre
  9. Vampire Empire by Clay and Susan Griffith.  Ahh, I loved this series – the two main characters are just so good.  Yes, there is a romance but on this occasion I can safely say I really didn’t mind at all.Vampire
  10. The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp – this book has so much going for it.  I had an absolute blast reading it, there are some nasty critters and the central character Sax is a total show stealing, over the top, antique dealing maniac.  The setting ranges from dusty chateau, damp and creepy cave to vampire laboratory and the action is pretty fast and furious.The fifth
  11. The Complete Double Dead by Chuck Wendig.  Another unflinching book.  The central character, Coburn, is a vampire.  He’s been having something of a long sleep (not self induced) and when he awakens it seems like most of the population (and his food source) have turned full on zombie.   This is a fast paced, blood soaked ride.double dead
  12. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  OMG I loved this book and I’ve stolen the following description from Google Books because, well, it’s just spot on ‘combines elements of Latin American mythology with a literary voice that leads readers on an exhilarating and fast-paced journey. Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires’.  Yes, read it.Certain Dark Things HC Mech.indd
  13. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King – what can I say.  Stephen King is just ‘it’ when it comes to writing anything dark, spooky, creepy or down right horrific and Salem’s Lot is as you would expect – brilliant. Salem's lot

I expect there’s something here for everyone, ranging from fun to downright horror.  This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list though, I haven’t read everything after all so feel free to share your recommendations with me.

 

 

‘My own brother, a goddamn shit-sucking vampire’

This week over as the Fantasy Review Barn Nathan is taking us Tough Travelling looking at vampires:

VAMPIRES are increasingly rare on the TOUR.  They have been attracted over to the Horror Tour by offers of better pay.  Where they appear, you will find up to date Vampires wear expensive sunglasses and wish to drain you of energy rather than blood.

  1. Dracula from Bram Stoker – you have to have Dracula on this list he’s one of the originals
  2. Iuda from Jasper Kent’s Danilov Quintet – this is one nasty sucker (had to go there)!
  3. Fort from Generation V by M L Brennan – one of the younger vampires
  4. Joshua from Fevre Dream by GRRMartin – based on board a steamship that sails the Mississipi
  5. Eric from Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series – a rather fine specimen of towering viking vampireness!
  6. Stefan from Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson – how can you resist a vampire who rides around in a Scooby Van!
  7. Barlow from Salem’s Lot by Stephen King – that’s one vampire that scared the bejeebers out of me!
  8. Lestat from Ann Rice’s Interview with a Vampire – ‘ClaudiaYouve been a very, very, naughty little girl.’
  9. Constantine from Sunshine by Robin McKinley – a very good story, set in a world where vampires and humans went to war, Sunshine has a rare ability that she uses to help Constantine
  10. Quinn from Kathleen Tierney’s Blood Oranges – part vampire part werewolf

And I’m drawing a line under it as I could go on and on!!

The immortality of the immortals.

Posted On 10 November 2014

Filed under Book Reviews
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From this – ‘hypnotic’ vampire

to this… (can I just mention flossing!)

… a little easier on the eye maybe!

Just on the run up to Halloween I read four Vampire books – all proving the popularity and diversity of this type of fiction.

I read probably one of the earliest stories written called The Vampyre by John Polidori.  This is no doubt one of the first stories in which the vampire is portrayed as an aristocrat travelling around and leaving bodies in his wake.  It’s only a short story but very readable particularly in terms of being groundbreaking.  Check out this very interesting piece (which is where I read first about the Polidori story).

My other reads were Fevre Dream by GRRMartin – which whilst I recognise may not be for everyone, as it is undoubtedly rather wordy, I really enjoyed it.  A very deep and well thought out book with plenty of atmosphere.

Generation V by MLBrennan – a series about a relatively young and not yet fully grown into his powers vampire who is still clinging to what semblance of humanity he has left in the face of adversity!  A great start to the series and one that I will definitely continue to read.

The Endangered by S L Eaves – a modern and fast paced story that retells the vampire vs werewolf myth of old and brings a new take to the tale.

On top of this there are countless other vampire stories – both from the romance and horror genres! Bram Stoker’s Dracula has to have a special mention just simply because I love it and there’s a reason it’s a classic – it’s damned good!

The other absolute must read is I am Legend by R Matheson – a fantastic tale with a wicked twist and another very important book in that it probably became the inspiration for the ‘zombie apocalypse’ genre.  BTW – the book is undoubtedly superior to the film in this particular instance.  The film is okay as far as being a vampire movie goes but it definitely loses something in translation by changing the ending!

Yes, there are loads more ranging from teenage angst ridden vampires (yes, I’m thinking of Edward) to Anne Rice’s Lestat and his tormented companion Louis (‘I was a newborn vampire weeping at the beauty of the night’).  YA vampires set in highschool grounds such as The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (dare I mention the rather lovely Dimitri??) and historical vampire novels that once again portray vampires as downright vile, nasty and evil characters – such as Jasper Kent’s Danilov Quintet.

Basically, vampires are here to stay (which actually sounds a little bit creepy doesn’t it!)  It seems we’re fascinated by them and they adapt and evolve as the years progress in order to ensure their longevity.

Imaginary they may be but their immortality in terms of the written word seems to be assured!

BTW – does anybody have a good sci fi book recommendation that involves vampires???

‘To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It’s like a whole big sucking thing.’
Buffy – Welcome to the Hellmouth, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Generation V by M L Brennan

Posted On 29 October 2014

Filed under Book Reviews
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Just finished reading Generation V by M L Brennan. I loved this.  It was a total whirlwind of a book as I simply couldn’t put it down.  I think I’ve found another definite series to add to the list here – in fact, who am I kidding, I’ve already bought No.2 and preordered No.3 – yeah, that good!  Such a treat.  A vampire story with a difference in that at the moment the main character Fort barely has any vampire characteristics at all and therefore the whole paranormal element is brought to the story by others.  Anyway, not to get ahead of myself.

Set in New England in modern day times the story brings to us the Scott family.  Madeline, proud vampire matriarch and alpha of not just her family but the whole region.  She rules with an iron fist and doesn’t suffer fools.  Her children.  Prudence, Chivalry and Fortitude.  The whole family differs in age range and although vampires are incredibly long lived they aren’t immortal.  Madeline now looks more matronly, I can’t remember how old she is to be honest but let’s just say she has a lot of years behind her.  Consequently, she is a very powerful vampire.  She’s unable to tolerate sunshine.  And, she has sired her own offspring.   Prudence and Chivalry are both also fully fledged vampires.  Fort however is the baby in the family – he’s in his mid twenties and not yet grown into his fangs.

The central story revolves around another vampire entering Madeline’s territory, with her permission of course.  Unfortunately this particular vampire has rather unsavoury tastes to say the least and although he has been given freedom to hunt his actions are really quite revolting!  Fort, who is still more human than vampire is unable to stand by while this predator stalks the neighbourhood and unable to compel his family to show compassion takes matters into his own hands.

The problem of course is that Fort has no more ability than a regular mundane person.  No outstanding speed or strength and to top matters he’s frankly a bit of a pushover.  This guy brings a whole new definition to being a ‘doormat’.  His flatmate abuses his hospitality and doesn’t pay rent, his girlfriend abuses his nature and sleeps with his flatmate!  His own sister hates him (although this is a feeling which he returns with interest) and his brother is frequently exasperated by his immaturity and ‘humanness’.  He’s not exactly a good match for an old and strong vampire.  However, what he lacks for in brute strength he makes up for in dumb persistence.

Enter the scene, Suzume.  I love this character.  Suzume is a foxy female and I mean that literally.  A Kitsune is a type of shapeshifter although I understand that Suzume’s ability to shift is to that of a human, a fox being more her natural state.  She’s an excellent character, she has her limitations and she certainly isn’t capable of kicking everyone’s ass but she is such good fun to read.  She frequently steals the show and she had me laughing out loud quite often.

Brennan also brings other supernatural creatures into play in a way that has them living amongst us poor unsuspecting humans.  Elves play a part in this story and I imagine that the list of supes is going to increase as the series progresses.   Not to mention the whole ‘Renfield’ twist to the story.

The start of the novel takes a little time setting out the whys and wherefores so doesn’t fly off to an immediate start but I think this element is necessary in order to fully understand Fort and the problems he has not only with his own family but also with accepting what he is and more to the point what he will eventually become.  There are no angst ridden sparkly vampires here but if you think of Rice’s Louis then you’ll have an idea of the type of torment that Fort is going through.  He dreads becoming a monster and strives to hold onto those elements of his nature that other vampires eschew such as compassion and sympathy.

However, as soon as the creepy slimeball vampire enters the scene the action ramps up dramatically.  At this point we do see a slightly different side to Fort’s family than the one that he has portrayed and Brennan also ends the book with a question mark over a long standing friendship that could possibly turn sour.  So, things are turned on their head a little by the conclusion

In case you haven’t picked up yet I really enjoyed this book.  I’m not going to deny that it does have some rather uncomfortable elements to it.  This isn’t YA for sure – it definitely sits in the adult arena.  It is however a completely gripping novel with two amazing characters in Fort and Suzume.  I can’t wait to read the next instalment!

I’m submitting this for my RIP event booklist over at Stainless Steel Droppings details here.

Check out this cheesy cover – this is a fine case where not judging a book by it’s cover is more than proven to be sound advice!  No offence intended but there it is.  Cheesy.

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