Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Very Vampire Christmas

Busy, busy, busy.  Haven't posted in a long time.  Holiday cheer and all that rot.  So all your shopping is done and your last batch of cookies is in the oven, now what?  Well, not done here, but there's always time for some good paranormal reading.  Obviously, the genre has to be stretched a bit to fit vampires and Christmas together, but hey, vamps have to endure Christmas with us all, too.  So these are my Holiday Vampire Fiction Reads this season.

The Bite Before Christmas by Lynsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost.  There is another book by this name, so don't be fooled by imposters.  (Actually, the other one was published first, and I read that one, too.)  Okay, first of all-- love the cover!  This book is composed of two novellas: "The Gift" by Lynsay Sands and "Home for the Holidays" by Jeaniene Frost.  "The Gift" is an installment of the Argeneau Vampire series.  Lynsay Sands has her own unusual take on the biology and origins of vamps (no spoilers here, so read read it!).  If you are familiar with her books then you will recognize the characters through connections to previous stories, but this is a good stand alone story, as well.  Although the story seemed rushed and a bit squashed to fit into half a book, this is one of the better stories that I read this season.  "Home for the Holidays" seemed a bit more contrived, while it was action packed and had the requisite romance factor.  All in all a good read if you are looking for a Christmas themed vamp fiction.

A Vampire for Christmas by Laurie London, Michele Hauf, Caridad Pineiro and Alexis Morgan.  I powered through this anthology of short stories by some of the top authors of the genre in a couple of days.  It is light reading and not too cheesy.  Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of short stories, because I like to invest time in getting to know the characters and seeing them evolve, which just isn't possible in depth in a short story.  Also, this is heavy on the romance end of the genre, and I prefer my books more to the other end of the spectrum of these books-- let's just call it mystery (ahem, violence and blood).  But if you want to download a book and a get a couple light vamp stories in before you open presents without a major time investment, this is a good choice.  Short stories are great for that.

Last Breath by Rachel Caine is the 11th book in the Morganville Vampires Series.  This book was released Nov 1, and I've been waiting to read it like saving a bottle of good wine.  But I could wait no longer!  And it did not disappoint.  It was easily the best book I read this season.  Admittedly, it is not specifically Christmas themed, but-- it was released during the season, and it is set in West Texas in the cold and rainy season, which is winter there.  Life is never boring in Morganville, Texas.  And everything that is great about the Morganville Vamps return in another installment of mystery and violence.  There is a new menace in town to challenge and unite the residents once again.  This book is best read as part of the series, although I suppose it could be read as a teaser to the rest of the series.  Warning: the conflict is not resolved, and this book is left on a cliff hanger.

On a final note, I read All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks last Christmas season, and it totally deserves an honorable mention here.  This is a full novel (that is, not short stories) by one of the best authors in the genre, and it is a fun read when you want a full story.  As I said, I prefer long stories, even series in fact.  But this story has it all-- vamps, romance, violence, a Christmas party. . . What else could you want?

Nook Update:  Barnes and Noble has sent me 3 Nooks now, and finally one arrived undamaged.  Their packaging for shipping really needs to be redesigned.  I highly recommend not ordering one of the these online-- buy it in store to avoid the damage in shipping frustration.

Well, I'm off to make Peppermint Pinwheels before we go out into the hustle and bustle of Holiday shopping.   Happy Holiday reading!