Wednesday, June 01, 2005

These vampires just won't die ...

I know there are lots of romance readers out there who can't stand vampires. Maybe you can't forget the fact that they are technically dead. Or maybe you get sick of the sub-genre cliches like "soulmates" and the redemption-by-virginity idea. I like vampire stories, and those things bug me too. I read a lot of them, and sometimes I am burned by these stupid conventions that stick to the vampire sub-genre. There are certain authors who have raked in the money (or at least the publications) from books with vampire heroes, but they are no longer on my TBR pile, let alone my buy list. No more Christine Feehan, no more Amanda Ashley, no more Lynsay Sands, no more Katie McAllister, and sadly no more Laurell K. Hamilton.

If you're interested in trying some vampire novels of excellent quality, that aren't necessarily of the romance persuasion, here's my list of recommendations, gleaned from my keeper shelf:

Minion by L. A. Banks

Dhampir by Barb and J. C. Hendee -- medieval fantasy vampire with the beginnings of a romance

Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore -- romantic vampire comedy, Moore is absolutely brilliant at humor

Way of the Wolf by E. E. Knight -- vampires in space

Kiss Me Forever and Love Me Forever by Rosemary Laurey

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Midnight Blue by Nancy A. Collins -- falls under the horror subgenre called Splatterpunk, not for the faint of heart or stomach

This Dark Paradise by Wendy Haley

Of Saints and Shadows by Christopher Golden -- vampires and the Catholic Church is a cliche, but this is well done

In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes -- the author was 15 when she wrote this, but you wouldn't know it

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin -- vampires on a riverboat by an excellent fantasy and scifi author

I know these have been recommended to death by romance fans, but I can't leave them off of the list because I enjoyed both:

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (first in the Southern Vampire series)
Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson (I read this when it was first published as an ebook and loved the expanded book version)

And here are a few vampire novels on the horizon that have caught my attention:

Waltz With a Vampire
by Maggie MacKeever
Sept. 1st
This one is clearly meant to be humorous from the cover, which could result in either a hit or a miss, who knows. But I like the combination of regency, vampire, and humor, and it's a new author (for me).

Be Mine Forever
by Rosemary Laurey
July 5th
I enjoyed her first two (I read them when they were published by Avid Press and titled Walk in Moonlight and Rapture in Moonlight). I'm glad she was picked up by one of the big publishers and hope to see more from her.

Fangs for the Memories
by Kathy Love
Sept. 1st
Another new-to-me author, and another humorous vampire.

The Forbidden
by L. A. Banks
July 1st
I've really enjoyed this series. I've read the first two, I have two more sitting on the bookshelf waiting for some time, and I've already pre-ordered this one.

Highland Vampire
by Hannah Howell, Andrienne Basso and Deborah Raleigh
Sept. 1st
I like anthologies, and I'm not familiar with Basso, but the real reason this one is on my list is because of Deborah Raleigh (who has published lots of Regencies as Debbie Raleigh -- I was a little surprised to see her in a Brava lineup).

The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova
June 14th
I mentioned this one in the UK/US post, but there's lots of publisher and book industry buzz and hype for this one. I hope it follows through.

How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire
by Kerrelyn Sparks
August 1st
Another humorous vampire. Another new author.

The Hunger
by Susan Squires
Oct. 4th
Susan Squires is a romance author who takes risks. She likes to jump around and try different subgenres, which isn't very common for romance authors. She's done medievals, vampires, a futuristic, and a contemporary romantic suspense.

Out of the Night
by Robin T. Popp
Sept. 1st
Her first book was a futuristic, Too Close to the Sun, which I haven't read.

Private Demon
by Lynn Viehl
Oct. 4th
The sequel to If Angels Burn. I've really enjoyed Viehl's work as S. L. Viehl and as Jessica Hall.

The Remarkable Miss Frankenstein
by Minda Webber
July 30th
Another new author. Another humorous vampire. They are everywhere this summer/fall.

Courting Midnight
by Emma Holly
Oct. 4th
Third in her midnight series, I didn't love the first one, thought the second one was good but not great. I'm still going to read this one because Holly is a daring writer.

Undead and Unappreciated
by MaryJanice Davidson
July 5th
I've enjoyed the Undead series, so I will read these. Though I don't think I will buy them in hardcover. They're a little too light for hardcover prices (for me).

Undead and Unreturnable
by MaryJanice Davidson
Oct. 25th

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HelenKay said...

I'm one of those folks who falls into the "don't like" category but I'm going to give a few of your suggestions a try. I've also heard a lot of good buzz for FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES so that one is on my to buy pile.

McVane said...

Your list of recommendations is very similar to mine. I'd add Margaret St. George's LOVE BITES, Tanya Huff's BLOOD series, Lyn Michaels's NIGHT WING, Meredith Ann Pierce's THE DARK ANGEL, and Jasmine Cresswell's PRINCE OF THE NIGHT.

Maggie Shayne's original TWILIGHT trilogy is good [these three were ahead of its time], but the rest of TWILIGHT series? Please die. I beg you.

I have mixed feelings toward Trisha Baker's CRIMSON trilogy, Sharon Brondos's DARK series, Karen Harbough's THE VAMPIRE VISCOUNT, Cheryl Jac's IMMORTAL books, and Susan Squires's SACRAMENT.

Angela Knight's short stories are more enjoyable than her single titles.
Caridad Pineiro's DARKNESS CALLS is quite good [her latest book DANGER CALLS is out now].

I have problems with books by Feehan, Ashley, C Harris, Sands, Lael Miller, Kenyon, MacAlister, Kinard, Gideon, LKH, Cacek, MJD, Sherry Gottlieb, Shannon Drake, Michele Hauf, and Lori Herter [I detest *all* her heroines].

Can I say how much I dislike Anne Rice's vampire novels?

OK I will shut up. :D

Nicole said...

There are many of these that I want. I like the humorous ones. Though I confess I like Lynsay Sands vamp ones. I read a L.A. Banks story in a novella and dind't like it much, so I didn't look forher others. Might have to. I've got the MJD one on reserve at the library for when it comes in.

I'm not quite sure how I decide what vamps I like and which ones I don;t. Though I tend to avoid the really dark ones.

Beverly said...

HelenKay, If you want more details about any of my recs, I can tell you more. I hope you do like a few of them.

Maili, I've read Prince of the Night and Love Bites and enjoyed them. I forgot them because I don't actually own them; I think they are out of print, aren't they?

I have Piniero's Darkness Calls and the first of Huff's Blood series (I really enjoyed her Valor scifi books) on my TBR.

Isn't Pierce's book a YA?

I read Linda Lael Miller's vampire books when I was new to romance. I enjoyed them at the time, but don't think I would now.

Now you have made me think of a few more recs I should add.

McVane said...

Yes, Pierce's book is a YA novel, but it's worth your time [especially if you read Atwater and Klause Curtis's books] It's mostly a fantasy novel, which is unusual [as you know I'm not that wild about the fantasy genre], but it left an impact on me.

Jay said...

Thanks for the list! I had been trying to remember the Kathy Love one for like a week!

HelenKay directed me over here as I was looking for funny vampire rec's.

What didn't you like about Lynsay Sands?

Beverly said...

Maili, I will try the Pierce book. I'm pretty sure it's also the first of a trilogy, which I always like.

Jay, it's hard to say why I didn't like the Sands vampires. I actually did like her early historicals. But the humor often felt forced and silly.

I'm also not big on the heroine getting involved with someone she's supposed to be working with. Or the male romance writer (I know they're out there, but I didn't really like this one). I had a hard time buying the idea that if a guy were to live forever, he'd write romance novels.

But it's had lots of great buzz and great reviews, so it probably just wasn't for me.

sybil said...

I like Sands historicals, although I haven't read the new one. But I have it.

The only vamp of hers I bought was love bites and for whatever reason never read it. So I am sending it off to jay to have a happy home and maybe get read.

You know this is the second time someone has mentioned vamps and I have come up empty. I LOVE vamps. But ask me for a rec off the top of my head and I go duh...

Which of course means I need to go visit the vamp section and read more vampires!