Review: Vampire Vic by Harris Gray #HorrorOctober

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Vampire Vic by Harris Gray

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Formats: Digital, Paperback, Audio
Publication Details: March 4th 2013 by Harrisgray, 344 pages
Genre(s): Horror; Humour
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Amazon

Would you give up donuts…for blood?

Fat, balding accountant Victor Thetherson hoped becoming a vampire would turn his life around. But Victor can’t stomach confrontation and gets queasy at the sight of blood. Instead he gets it from the blood bank, diluted in bloody Bloody Marys. The result: a vampire who doesn’t bite, and a man who gets no respect.

Victor’s slacking staff mockingly calls him Vampire Vic. Victor’s boss amuses his wife by intimidating Victor on video. His ex makes him stay out late while she entertains boyfriends in the house she insists they continue to share. One night it finally boils over, and Victor bites someone. And then another…and very soon, he’s no longer visiting the blood bank.

Muscle replaces fat, and his comb-forward widow’s peak takes root. Victor basks in newfound attention and respect, at the office and at home. But real vampires get hunted, and as the transformation reaches the tipping point, Victor must decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice for the power of the vampire.

Review

Victor Thetherson is the worst vampire there ever was. He hasn’t embraced his new existence and spends his days being walked all over by pretty much everyone he knows, just like he did when he was a human.

He still lives with his ex-wife who hates him, his employees are either too stupid, or simply unwilling to do any of the work he requires, and he can’t stomach the thought of drinking someone’s blood.

But even a vampire can only take so much, and eventually Victor snaps – well, bites – actually, and not only does Vic’s first success as a functioning vampire earn him some much needed respect but he also starts to notice other very welcome changes, and a couple not so welcome like his very own vampire hunter…

From reading the synopsis, Vampire Vic was everything I expected and more!

I thought it had a witty, refreshing premise in a world of regurgitated clone-like vampire stories, and it completely delivered on that front. It was so nice to read a different take on a vampire story.

Harris & Gray’s world is a modern one (although it totally screamed 80s to me?) in which vampires exist and are known, but not all that common. Nobody really knows how vampirism is passed on, or even if it means immortality or not.

One of the main things I liked about this world was how realistic it was, bordering on mundane in fact, which is where much of the humour came from.

I really loved Vic as a character too, he was surprisingly complex. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be friends with him, but I liked that he was that guy at work who everyone sees as a bit pathetic. You know, the work-a-holic type who you can never imagine having a life and then BAM! he grows some balls (and fangs) and you can’t help but cheer the guy on.

YOU GO VV!

The only bad thing about Vampire Vic was that I did get bored in some parts. Mainly the parts about office life, which I know I said made it realistic, and they did, but I felt it got a bit too bogged down in reports, phone calls and mergers in parts.

However, I finished this book with a huge smile on my face, and a need to get a #TEAMVV T-shirt made. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, but at least there’s book 2 to be getting on with instead.

P.S I was also totally rooting for Eugene the Vampire Hunter – he was hilarious. And luckily for Vic, pretty incompetent.

unicorn rating 4

Vampire Vic is out now, as is Vampire Vic 2: Morbius Reborn which will be reviewed here soon. Watch this space!

This Week in Books 21.10.2015

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week.

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!I can’t believe how quickly this month is going, I really need to get a move on with my Horror October reads and features!

But alas, here’s what I’ve been up to this past week…

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Now: Vampire Vic 2: Morbius Reborn ~ Harris Gray // Edgar Allan Poe: Stories & Poems

Thankfully I enjoyed the first Vampire Vic book, because I agreed to read and review both. Not much to report so far on the second book though.

Also, I didn’t get round to finishing the Poe book so I’m ploughing ahead with that atm.

Then:

Vampire Vic ~ Harris Gray
I really liked this witty, light-hearted vampire book. My review will be up once I’ve finished the second book in the series so you’ll get a double VV whammy!

Next: ???

My next read for Horror October will be The Ghoul Archipelago by Stephen Kozeniewski, followed by Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes.

That’s it for this week, what did you get up to?

If you still do a similar WWW post (or just want to join in, leave your link/answers in the comments, OR why not tweet using #TWIB, and I’ll come and visit.

Guest Post: My Love of Murder and Mayhem by Cleo Bannister #HorrorOctober

I discovered Cleo’s blog, Cleopatra Loves Books relatively early on in my blogging life, and have been an avid reader ever since. I really enjoy crime fiction, especially a good, gritty, psychological thriller, but I still find myself only reading them sporadically.

Cleo however, has a seemingly insatiable appetite for all that involves death and murder, something we have joked about before in comments and such. As Horror October approached I thought it would be a great opportunity to find out more about Cleo, her blog, and where her love of crime fiction came from.

Huge thanks to Cleo for agreeing and sending over this great guest post. If you don’t follow her, head over there ASAP (she also covers more than just crime fic btw).

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My Love of Murder and Mayhem

by Cleo Bannister, Cleopatra Loves Books

I came to murder fairly late in life, although on reflection the seeds were sown earlier, but up until relatively recently you were more likely to find chick-lit or historical women’s fiction decking the shelves of my bookcase. These days they are dominated by black spines adorned with words such as death, murder or the darkly mysterious single word title!

My earliest introduction to murder stories came in the form of true-crime, more specifically the very trashy looking True Crime magazines with which I scared myself half to death before passing them onto my younger brother (something my more responsible adult self would say is probably not to be recommended).

Buying these magazines was a feat in itself, we lived in a rural town where everyone knew my mother, who certainly wouldn’t have approved, and they were kept on the top shelf. I’m not exactly tall now, and in those days top-shelves weren’t meant to be reached by under-sized teenagers so it was only on trips to the nearby city, Gloucester, that I was occasionally brave enough to get someone taller to pass me a copy.

Our local library didn’t stock YA fiction, it hadn’t been invented back in the 80s, and so once I’d finished the children’s section it was straight round the corner to adult fiction where I continued to read the classics fairly indiscriminately interspersed with the occasional bonk-buster as was required reading for every girl my age! Now either my library didn’t stock much in the way of crime fiction or I simply never really came across it, remember these were pre-internet days, you read what was available and unless you had a title and an author it really was pot-luck when pulling books out of the shelves.

Murder on the Orient ExpressI do remember one holiday home we stayed in, I want to say it was Wales but maybe that is my adult self, superimposing the stereotypical rainy weather on an entirely innocent region, which contained a huge stack of readers digest magazines and a good stock of Agatha Christie books which I devoured with relish and then I returned home and they became the one highlight in a very wet, windy and quite frankly miserable holiday.

In no time at all I left home, joined a library in every place that I called home still without any real structure to my reading, except for an overwhelming need to have a constant supply of books and it was only when I moved to Jersey that I became reacquainted with Agatha Christie with Poirot being played by the marvellous David Suchet which was required Sunday evening viewing for an entire winter, as well as settling down more than happily to watch Inspector Wexford do his stuff in a gentler contrast to Poirot’s more flamboyant manner. I sought out Ruth Rendell’s books featuring the detective and fortunately not only was Jersey library better stocked, it was better structured, books were shelved traditionally but some shelves were designated genres, paperbacks or recently published books, although I found my best bet of getting the choicest picks was to peruse the trolley which had the recently returned books on it. There I picked up a book by Barbara Vine, A Fatal Inversion, and having worked out this was Ruth Rendell whose Inspector Wexford books had filled my need for police procedurals, who used the pen name Barbara Vine when she wrote about crime from a psychological view-point.

Happy Like Murderers - Fred and Rose WestIn 1994 Fred West, an odd-job man in Gloucester had his garden dug up and the bones of his daughter who had been missing for eight years were located, I was in hospital giving birth to my son when the news came through that more bodies had been found, twelve in total. When Fred’s wife Rose was arrested, and later found guilty, I wanted to understand how such a large number of murders could take place under the noses of the residents in Cromwell Street, a road that I had walked along the end of many times while living in Gloucester.

I also wanted to understand why? Particularly in the case of Rose; what sort of woman kills for pleasure? In short this case reawakened my interest in true crime, although I now accept that the answers to the why part of my question will probably never be clear since Rose has refused to say anything at all in the intervening years.

Jersey library had a fairly good stock of the books that spring up after a particularly sensational crime so for a while my days were filled with caring for my young children while my nights were spent looking into some of the most depraved minds to grace the earth. It will relieve all those close to me that I wasn’t particularly interested in the methods used, I was interested in the make-up of these men and women.

The Scolds BridleAt about the same time I came across Minette Waters who wrote in a new style, one which combined my interest in the psychological but felt far more modern than Barbara Vine, whose novels were often, but not always, set in a bygone era. Minette Waters used transcripts and newspaper articles as part of her stories, which were without exception incredibly powerful. In The Scold’s Bridle, Mathilda Gillespie is found dead in her bath, flowers in her hair and wearing just us to a medieval torture implement, the scold’s bridle – absolute genius, no crazed serial killer needed just a deeply disturbing (and it still disturbs me now twenty years later) image.

In many ways my crime fiction reading continued with those books picked up for TV serialisation so I came across the marvellous Dalziel and Pascoe, Inspector Frost and of course the wonderful Morse and true to form proceeded to read the entire series of each – people the books are so much better than the TV series! There is far more to these books than cosy Sunday night viewing, the depth in the Dalziel and Pascoe books whilst brilliantly portrayed on screen, is lost when reduced to a two hour show.

As the years rolled by although I picked up any new books by these now much loved authors, plus a few more favourites found along the way, most notably Gillian White who wrote brilliant psychological thrillers with P.D. James, Peter James and Gill McGown for the more classic police procedurals, my reading was more concentrated on the books of the moment, I loved Bridget Jones, Dorothy Koomson, Lisa Jewell and Jodi Picoult. At the same time I love history and have a particular weakness for dual time-line stories so Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Lucinda Riley also have book that still grace my shelves today.

In 2010, with far more time on my hands, I decided to start reviewing the books I was reading on Amazon, and was lucky enough to be invited onto their Amazon Vine program which offered me free books in return for a review. I was in heaven and here was an opportunity to read books not only before publication but to check out those that I probably wouldn’t pick up in a bookstore.

The books I chose became increasingly dominated by murder and mayhem so that in 2015 out of the 111 books read and reviewed so far 67 are shelved under crime fiction or psychological thriller with a high percentage of non-fiction category also being books about murderous intent. My love of history, and particularly women’s history hasn’t dimmed, but now I enjoy books about Victorian Murderesses, women committed to lunatic asylums and suffragettes instead of love stories.

In 2013 Cleopatra Loves Books was launched primarily so that I had control of the books I’d reviewed and since then, the list of books I’ve found and been recommended that fit into this preferred genre has grown totally out of control. I thank you fellow bloggers for some absolute cracking reviews that has widened my reading to include such a variety of murderers from the domestic to the sadistic serial killer, I simply can’t get enough!

As you can probably tell, I have read loads of books about murder and mayhem so far so I’ll just leave you with a few suggestions from my bookshelves but if you want more detailed advice you can always contact me on my blog – I don’t even bite!

Police Procedural Series
Police Procedural

Roy Grace Series – Peter James
Lewis Trilogy – Peter May
Dalziel and Pascoe – Reginald Hill

Psychological Thriller
Psychological
Just What Kind of Mother Are You? – Paula Daly
Disclaimer – Renee Knight
Copycat – Gillian White

Historical Crime Fiction
Historical Crime

The Anatomy of Death – Felicity Young
Out of the Silence – Wendy James
Caversham Lock – Peter Conway

Non-Fiction
Non Fiction
A Very British Murder – Lucy Worsley
The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath – Jane Robbins
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – Kate Summerscale

Thanks again to Cleo! I hope this post has inspired you to pick up a murder mystery or two this Autumn, it certainly has for me! 🙂

#HorrorOctober 2015: Week 2 Round-up!

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Another week of bloody blogging has been and gone….so here is everything you may have missed from week two of Horror October 2015!

Horror October Week 2: 8th – 15th (Click on the images to view the post

Horror Films That Stil Scare Me #1

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Review: The Kiss of Death

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Top Ten Tuesday: Horror Duos I’d Love to See Collaborate

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This Week in Books

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Cover Reveal: Life After the Undead

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Great Posts from the around Blogosphere

If you’d like a link adding to next week’s round-up, email it to me on lipsyylostnfound-AT-gmail-DOT-COM-

Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror by Christopher Golden (editor) #HorrorOctober

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Title: Seize the Night
Author: Edited by Christopher Golden, stories by Charlaine Harris, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Sherrilyn Kenyon and many more.
Edition: Digital ARC, 544 pages
Publication Details:
Genre(s):Horror; Short Stories
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads //

A blockbuster anthology of original, blood-curdling vampire fiction from New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors, including Charlaine Harris, whose novels were adapted into HBO’s hit show True Blood, and Scott Smith, publishing his first work since The Ruins.

Before being transformed into romantic heroes and soft, emotional antiheroes, vampires were figures of overwhelming terror. Now, from some of the biggest names in horror and dark fiction, comes this stellar collection of short stories that make vampires frightening once again. Edited by New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden and featuring all-new stories from such contributors as Charlaine Harris, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Scott Smith, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Michael Kortya, Kelley Armstrong, Brian Keene, David Wellington, Seanan McGuire, and Tim Lebbon, Seize the Night is old-school vampire fiction at its finest.

Review

I was super excited to read this new anthology. 1. Because it would be perfect for Horror October 2. Because Hallelujah! A book packed with stories about vampires as they should be – scary, gory, and eviiiiil? Yes please. 3. Christopher Golden, who I’m aware of from his Buffy the Vampire Slayer novelisations. Perfect.

Unfortunately, I think I may have hyped myself up about Seize the Night a bit too much, resulting in a let down. For one, it was soooo long I thought it was never going to end, but mainly the issue I had was that it simply didn’t deliver on its promises.

I didn’t find any of the short stories scary, nor the vampires in them terrifying. I was also pretty annoyed that I wouldn’t actually class a lot of these stories as vampire ones. There were strange soul-sucking shadows and flesh-eating creatures, and I like that all the stories weren’t about traditional vampires, but I would have liked more of them to be. I was craving them!

However, I’m not saying these stories were bad, in fact I really enjoyed a handful of them once I readjusted my expectations in terms of content (not quality of writing).

The stories that stood out to me were On the Dark Side of Sunlit Basin by Michael Koryta, about a man who fancies himself as a big game hunter and enlists the expertise of a Native American guide, only to ignore his warnings of a superstitious legend. The Neighbours by Sherrilyn Kenyon, a short, simple tale of a possible serial killer next door, which was a bit clichéd but fun, and Mrs Fondevant by Charlaine Harris, which surprised me as I couldn’t stand her writing in the Sookie Stackhouse books.

My favourite story in this collection however, was, by far, Paper Cuts by Gary A. Braunbeck. I’d not heard of this author before but will be sure to check him out now. This unique story is about a charming elderly bookseller who has dedicated his life to helping others by sacrificing a little of himself every day…

I was impressed by both the idea and the writing, and found it interesting, exciting and also very sad. Loved it!

So there you have it, an extremely hit and miss anthology for me. If it wasn’t marketed as ‘Tales of Vampiric Terror’, I think I may have enjoyed it more, but I came away quite disappointed despite some great individual stories.

unicorn rating 2

Horror Films That Still Scare Me #2: The Stephen King Edition #HorrorOctober

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Over the next few weeks I’m going to share my favourite ‘still scary’ horror films. You can read my first post here.

Stephen King’s It (1990)

IT movie cover

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Writers: Stephen King (novel), Lawrence D. Cohen (teleplay)
Cast: Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, Annette O’Toole, Tim Curry

“In 1960, seven outcast kids known as “The Loser Club” fight an evil demon who poses as a child-killing clown. 30 years later, they are called back to fight the same clown again.”

I’m not sure if my fear of clowns came before, during, or after watching It, but I’m pretty sure I’ll always be scared of them. Pennywise, played by the amazing Tim Curry is definitely the scariest clown I’ve ever encountered…I just can’t even.

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I also wonder if my fear of balloons has something to do with this film (I always forget it was originally a two-part mini-series) too…it really wouldn’t surprise me. I mean, I can look at a balloon, but if someone throws one at me, or I have to touch one, it really freaks me out. UGH.

Pet Sematary (1989)

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Director: Mary Lambert
Writers: Stephen King (novel & screenplay)
Cast: Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne…

“Behind a young family’s home in Maine is a terrible secret that holds the power of life after death. When tragedy strikes, the threat of that power soon becomes undeniable.”

I think this film scares me more now than it did when I was young. There’s only really one thing in the film that catapults Pet Sematary into my Scary Hall of Fame and that’s this…

It’s not always the first film I think of when I think of evil creepy-ass kids, but Gage is definitely the most terrifying part of Pet Sematary. Damien’s got nothing on him!

#HorrorOctober: Life After the Undead by Pembroke Sinclair *Cover Reveal*

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Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve done a cover reveal. I thought this new Zombie Apocalypse YA novel sounded perfected for this time of year! Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for letting me join in.

Life After The Undead

Author: Pembroke Sinclair
Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Publication date: October 27th 2015
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, Zombies

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she’s going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they’re migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.

[Drum roll please]…The Cover…

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Meet the Author

Pembroke Sinclair is a literary jack of all trades, playing her hand at multiple genres. She has written an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from horror to sci-fi and even some westerns.

Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming–the home of 56 nationalities–it is no wonder Pembroke ended up so creatively diverse. Her fascination with the notions of good and evil, demons and angels, and how the lines blur have inspired her writing.

Pembroke lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, two spirited boys, a black lab named Ryder, and a rescue kitty named Alia, who happens to be the sweetest, most adorable kitty in the world! She cannot say no to dessert, orange soda, or cinnamon. She loves rats and tatts and rock and roll and wants to be an alien queen when she grows up.

Contact/Links

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