Archive for best vampire novels
My Vampire Summer by Elle Casey
My Vampire Summer may be just a novella, but it still manages to have one of those great little vampire novels stories that makes a wonderful introduction to this new series by fantasy author Elle Casey. Besides, at this great Kindle price, who can resist? It will make a perfect quick weekend read.
It all starts when Iona and Cheri, a pair of teenage best friends, get a chance to spend the summer before they start college in an absolutely adorable little French town. The place positively reeks of Medieval history complete with crumbling castles and old tales of ancient curses.
Iona is a well establish bookworm and has brought her kindle along for the holiday. She plans to spend her time achieving her goal of 100 books read by the end of the summer, and no fanciful French gothic adventure is going to stop her. But her BBF Cheri has other plans.
Cheri is that kind of girl we all shake our heads at, but in admiration as much as bewildered wonder. She is the wild child who cannot say no to any kind of adventure, even if it is in a foreign language. So when Iona declare her intentions to read the holiday away, right away Cheri is plotting how to separate Iona from her kindle long enough to maybe hook up with a few cute French boys, at the very least. The appearance of a neighbor who is more than just a bit interesting starts things rolling, although maybe not the way Cheri was planning on.
Soon Cheri gets more than she bargained for when she stumbles onto a deadly secret and an ancient curse that may turn out to be more real then she had assumed. Like all good vampire novels, demon dogs, ancient crumbling ruins that hold crypts with a history of danger and a romance that could turn deadly are just a few of the unexpected happenings that will keep you on your toes in this YA romance with just enough paranormal happenings to make it fun.
My Vampire Summer is fantasy author Elle Casy’s introductory story to her second series of vampire novels. Her first series War of the Fae was her introduction to the world of fantasy and she seems to have found herself right at home here. If this novella is any indication, I would say this next series is going to be a great series, for either the YA crowd or adults. Great plotting, solid characters and most of all a really wonderful location make these vampire novels a great read.
I love to read all kinds of books, but primarily those “all kinds of books” do often tend to fall into the genre category, just different genres. Science Fiction was my first love, and still is one of my favorite reads and fantasy has become such a huge section of my shelves that it has pretty taken over one of my rooms (yes- I said rooms) of books.
But genre isn’t much respected outside of the halls of our own little sub-culture, even today with all the hoopla about fantasy and science fiction in films and all. Fangirl Unleashed, one of my favorite writers about genre, did a great bit about genre, especially fantasy and SyFy in one of my favorite blogs, unleashthefanboy.
I agree with so much of what she says – that it has always been in fantasy and science fiction that many women found a calling because it is in those genre fiction areas that women have been the most welcome. Even in a “boys club” like mystery, women writers have flourished and women characters have had the opportunity to be more than just eye candy.
Today’s fantasy, with the focus being now on vampires and their relatives like werewolves and faeries, have still done remarkably well in portraying women as characters of substance. Take our own in-house heroine, Sookie Stackhouse. Now there is a gal that does not wait for “the boys” to take care of her fighting or righting of wrongs. She rolls up her sleeves and demands to take care of it herself. And yet, without losing any of the nurturing female side to her, the side that cradles Erik or Bill when they are hurt or finds a solution to someone’s pain. Sookie is the kind of gal we all want to be.
So even if you have problems selling someone on a book because it has vampires in it, there is still always the fact that most of these books have great female characters in them. Yes, strong men and we all love that in the stories, and even vulnerable men who allow women into their lives. But in the end, for me at least, it is the fact that for all element of escape that so much fantasy can have, what really works for me is the real world values of women who take care of things, and men who appreciate that they do.
I was reading the Huffington Posts recent commentary about Indie publishing and it got me to thinking about the huge increase in indie publications amongst the genre you and I love, paranormal in general and vampires in particular. The number of authors, books and imprints has grown exponentially from the days of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. The question raised by Mellissa Foster and Amy Edelman from IndieReader.com is a good one – just because we have more books is that necessarily a good thing?
Amanda Hocking and Company
While it is true that there are the genuine gems in the indie vampire world, like Amanda Hocking who has managed to put out a bunch of great little books on her own before she signed that giant book deal with St. Martin’s Press, there are some dogs out there too. In fact, without naming any names (because you will never see them reviewed here, I don’t believe in doing negative reviews) there are quite a few really atrocious books out there in crying need of decent editing.
I agree with Mellissa and Amy, sometimes it is just a matter of money and the author intends to find an editor just as soon as they make some money to pay them. But heck – basic grammar and spelling can at least get caught with a good spell-check program. Some of this stuff is cringe-worthy simply because there is a good story in there somewhere, but for some of us getting past the bad writing makes it impossible to enjoy.
The good news is still out there. The fact that nothing less than the prestigious New York Times Bestseller list has said they will start listing indie titles says a lot for the changes in the world about the legitimate status of indie titles. Of course, it might be a bit surprising to see an indie vampire book making it to the list anytime soon, but you never know!
Too Many Vampires?
The other side of this bursting of the indie publishing scene is that we are also getting so much smart and intelligent paranormal writing. Even if it isn’t always coming from the smaller presses, I really believe that the existence of the indie market makes the big houses take heed. However, we need to decide that having hundreds of new titles every month is not as important as good writing with decent editing. It used to be that you waiting in tortured silence for your favorite author to come out with a new book, usually every couple of years. Now it seems as though doing several books a year is a requirement. Perhaps we will find that slowing down also creates those better quality books we all love so much. A girl can dream, can’t she?
In the meantime, go out there and enjoy the swell of great indie writers we have. The Huffington Post may not believe that 2012 is heading to be the Year of the Indie Writer, but for all the problems we talk about I still think it is a rising tide. And you know what they say about a rising tide, it carries all the boats along with it- so get ready for the next big wave!