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text 2018-09-16 09:58
Reading progress update: I've read 14%. - trying a self-published author
Civil Blood - Chris Hepler

I'm trying to balance ebooks and audiobooks for Halloween Bingo but that TBR stack is much smaller. Not a bad thing, it turns out, as it made me pay attention to this $2 self-published impulse buy.

 

This starts in familiar territory for videogamers. A big corporation (definitely NOT The  Umbrella Corporation - that could get a person sued) has accidentally releases a vampire virus in America and is trying to keep things quiet by rounding up the infected quietly and disposing of them. Then an infected lawyer goes public and promises revenge on whoever made the virus.

 

Two things have made it stand out so far:

 

Two strong story-lines: a first-person account from a screwed-up but kickass former enforcer for the evil corporation who has gone rogue after being infected and a third-person account focused on a senior enforcer inside the corporation who has a complex corporate history and some extraordinary talents.

 

A Sci Fi feel to the story rather than a traditional Urban Fantasy of Doomsday feel. There are new technologies in this near future America and some interesting politics.

 

Having tasted this, I'm going to eat the whole thing for my Deadlands Halloween Bingo square.

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review 2018-09-14 11:05
mixed feelings
Stripped with the Vampire (Austin Immortals Book 1) - Jax Garren

Vince is twenty four year old human who was a stripper.Vince loves his job despite the bad things said about strippers that weren’t always true Vince’s hobby is being a blacksmith.  During one of his gigs something goes wrong and he finds himself with a Aztec cult and he was the intended sacrifice to the Aztec God. After Vince was attacked by Vampires and Aztec cult members Vince decided to get a hold of his ex boyfriend Charlie. Vince had known Charlie since he was nine years old Vince had been kicked out of his home when he came out as gay so he went to Charlie to have someplace to stay At nineteen Vince became Charlie’s lover. Charlie is a three hundred year old vampire. Charlie prefers his privacy and minds his own business. Charlie is a closet gay as being gay is frowned upon in the Vampire world. CoVin - the good vampires’ clan would reject and cast Charlie out if they knew he was gay. Charlie had broke up with Vince five years ago when Charlie found out Vince had lied about his job and that he was actually a stripper. But Vince never got over Charlie. Charlie is seen as too human by his peers and they don’t rely on him for anything important.

I had mixed feelings about this book but I did enjoy reading it. But I probably won’t read it again it was a good read just not a great read for me. This is the first time a read a vampire book that had anything against m/m relationships. Often vampires are bisexual in most books at least the ones I have read. I liked the Aztec mythology in this book. I  didn’t know this was a m/m romance but I guess i didn’t read the synapse well enough. However I will say there wasn't an overabundance of sex in this book and I did just skip over those parts. So it was easy for me to read this. I did enjoy both Emmas and Cash’s characters. I liked there was both Vince’s and Charlie’s POV. So I had mixed feelings on this.

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review 2018-09-12 07:22
Vampire Wars: Vlad Gets Medieval

 

When Francis Ford Coppola's movie Bram Stoker's Dracula came out, my Vampire: The Masquerade gaming group debated its merits. The part we universally enjoyed was not the stylish costumes, or the goofy reincarnation plot, or Keanu's acting, but the opening ten minutes when Vlad Tepes is in plate armor spearing his enemies and throwing swords at crosses. "Why," we asked, "doesn't someone make a movie just out of that bit?"

This book is for that gaming group.

If you ever wondered what Dracula did between his death as Vlad Tepes in the late 1400s and the time of Bram Stoker's story, wonder no more. Vampire Wars is a short story collection about some of those missing years. It begins at the time Dracula (here using the Romanian, "Draculea") barely had two underlings to rub together. It progresses over the centuries to a climactic battle against the only unearthly horror that could possibly stop his minions or dampen his nigh-unbreakable will.

Along the way, Vlad kills, maims, tricks, or strikes bargains with more dead things than you'd find in a Kansas City slaughterhouse. Sure, he has a few monstrous minions such as lycanthropes and humans fed vampiric blood, but in the undead world there are revenants, Persian, African, and Russian vampires, and two notable vampire rivals from China (whom, as far as I could gather, do not hop like in Hong Kong horror comedies, because that's about as terrifying as sparkling).

Some of these undead are wholly original, while many others are well-known in horror circles from mythology, fiction, and history. Johann Faust, Erzsebet Bathory, Mircalla "Carmilla" Karnstein, and a conga line of undead from public domain works make appearances. For some extra spice, there's a cameo by some Lovecraftian byakhee and a passing reference to Angelus from you-know-where. If there's an overarching theme to the world-building here, it's simply "It's true -- all of it."

As other reviewers have pointed out, it's essential to view the chapters as individual stories and not a novel. Practically all my quibbles with the narrative style came from the expectations of reading a single story. The author repeats some information (like Vlad's minions' roles and his powers) quite often, which is irritating in a novel, but makes perfect sense in short stories where one can't be assured of reading the previous installment. Because the stories can't depend on each other, Vlad's rise to power is less a long-term campaign with masses of legions, and more a series of small-unit attacks on powerful undead. Decades go by between stories, giving it an episodic feel, and Vlad's minions are often done in during the fighting or just as often, killed off-screen before a new story begins. By the time we get near the climax, Vlad's survival alone seems like reason enough to crown him as the ruler of the vampires. While Vampire Wars is the first in a trilogy, the ending had enough closure to leave me satisfied, which is usually a sticking point for me.

My remaining quibbles are mostly with editing and the odd anachronistic phrase. Vlad uses "thee" and "thy," but his minions will occasionally pipe up with modern language like "you have to be kidding." As for content, I personally wanted to see a bit more interaction between Draculea and his allies apart from the campaigns, and it appears I am not alone in this. The sequel, Brides of Dracula, appears to cover exactly that ground. So though I took off a star or so for not being a work I would reread obsessively, I think I will be checking out more by the author.

At about 200 pages, Vampire Wars is pretty fast reading. I personally got it on Kindle. I'd recommend it to Lovecraft fans, vampire buffs, and yes, to my old gaming group.

Note: I can't find the author on Booklikes, nor am I able to add him, which means I can't add this book, either. Navigate to Amazon/Goodreads if you are curious.

Source: www.amazon.com/Vampire-Wars-Perry-Lake-ebook/dp/B00IWTUK2O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536730789&sr=8-1&keywords=vampire+wars+perry+lake
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review 2018-08-20 14:42
Sweep in Peace by Ilona Adrews Review
Sweep in Peace - Ilona Andrews

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews Elaine Howlin Book Blog Review

 

Sweep in Peace picks up 6 months after the events of Clean Sweep and life has returned to normal for Dina....but not for long ;) Her Inn is set to host the volatile peace talks between three warring species. Her livelihood hinges on the outcome and she ends up being pushed into a precarious position to protect her guests.

This book features 4 characters as adults who were kids in The Edge series. It isn't necessary to read The Edge books before this one but you should anyway cause those books are great!

Andrews manage to blend urban fantasy and science fiction so well with this series. Magic and technology don't usually go together but it's something they make work. Here they've blended the two genres without ever having one take over or feel out of place.

 

 

The story doesn't follow the Whodunit style that's very often in urban fantasy books. Instead, we're following the peace talks and the very tricksy Arbitrator wreak havoc in Dina's Inn. It made for much more interesting reading within my favourite genre and I gobbled it up!

 

Favourite Quote: "This is blasphemy!” Odalon declared in the same way Gerard Butler had once roared “This is Sparta.” Sadly, Odalon had nobody to kick into a bottomless hole for emphasis, so he settled for looking extremely put out.” 

Source: elainehowlin.wordpress.com
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review 2018-08-13 16:43
Loved every minute of this rip-roaring ride of a book!
Shadow's Bane - Karen Chance

 

With typical audacious Dory style and humour, we’re back in Chance’s world of vampires and fae. In this instalment, we follow Dory on her first job with the Senate searching for smugglers looking to benefit from the upcoming war.

 

As with all of Chance’s books, this is full of action and so fast paced you will be on the edge of your seat!… if it’s possible to be on the edge of your seat reading a book… The book is quite a bit longer than previous instalments but with such a long gap between publications, the extra bit of recapping at the beginning was greatly appreciated but does slow progression of the plot for the first 100 or so pages.

 

Once that’s out of the way we’re treated to the most entertaining book in the series that also does a lot to expand the universe of both the Dorina series and the Cassandra Palmer series. I absolutely loved the glimpses into Mircea’s past as a young vampire and the growing dynamic between Dory and her alter ego vampire self Dorina. There’s a lot going on there I never suspected and I can’t wait to see where it goes. We get a lot of growth in relationships and in who the characters are in this one as well especially with Dorina, Mircea and Caedmon.

 

Loved every minute of this one and can’t wait for the next. Dragon’s Claw, a Dorina/Pritkin crossover novella is due out the end of this month.

Favourite Quote: “There are a thousand ways to die,” he told me quietly. “There are so few really to live. I would gladly risk the former for the latter, and it is my choice, is it not? To risk whatever I must, my heart, my body, my soul, in order to be with you. Is that not what love is? – Louis-Cesare

Source: elainehowlin.wordpress.com/2018/08/13/shadows-bane-by-karen-chance
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