Review: Vampire Vic 2, Morbius Reborn #HorrorOctober

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Vampire Vic 2: Morbius Reborn by Harris Gray

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Formats: Digital, Paperback, 257 pages
Publication Details: September 15th 2015 by Harris Gray
Genre(s): Horror; Humour
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Amazon

Vampires walk among us. Appraising our houses, policing our neighborhoods, crossing our borders. We understand there will be biting and an occasional conversion. These are small sacrifices for the sexy thrill. We do worry about vampires popping up in positions of power. They are evolved, difficult to slay, not as sexy. A backlash grows; but are we far too late?

Victor Thetherson is nearly cured. The treatment buries the charisma and confidence that only vampirism seems able to resurrect, and snuffs his rekindled love affair with ex-wife Barbara. Victor can’t trust himself as a vampire and doesn’t want to live with himself otherwise.

Eugene Foreman dispenses wisdom on his Sage Slayer site, offs vamps when convenient, and romances Victor and Barbara’s daughter, Amberly. His sensei, the Civil War Soldier, begs Eugene to slay Victor before he realizes his deadly inheritance.

Victor versus Eugene, round two in an ancient war. With Morbius Reborn, our time at the top of the food chain is coming to an end.

Review

Before we begin, if you missed my review of the first book in this series, you can check it out here. But if you’re too lazy to do that, I’ll just tell you briefly that I really enjoyed the witty, light-hearted nature of it in comparison to most Vamp Lit out there.

Morbius Reborn starts off pretty much where the first book left us. Victor has finally become a respectable vampire. One that bites people, gets the ladies at ‘Hello’, and has not only survived his company’s merger, but has excelled during it.

He is a new man compared to the pathetic, middle-aged mess he was at the start of the first book. However, Vic is starting to get a little bit too good at the whole vampire thing and he can’t stop biting people.

This leads to Vic having treatment for his vampirism, which not only threatens to turn him back into the weak, wobbly, mess he once was, but at the same time Eugene the Vampire Hunter is being pressurised to slay Vic, and it makes no difference at all to Eugene if Vic is trying to get better or not…

I wish I could say that I loved this book as much as the first, but I can’t. I found it really hard to get into this one.

One of the best things about the first book was how realistic it was. Sure Vic is a vampire, but it’s set in a very real world of an average work/life cycle. Morbius Reborn however felt like a bit of a leap away – it had somehow lost that realness (starting with the whole Extreme Revamp thing)!

I was really pleased to see Eugene get more of a part in this one though, and I thought it was a genius idea to have him date Vic’s daughter.

All in all, I still enjoyed this book but not as much as the first. It had its moments, but I found it a bit muddled and very slow to start. I’ll definitely still give the next one a bash though, I believe it’s going to be a trilogy.

unicorn rating 3

Thanks to Harris Gray and Sami at Roger Charlie for the opportunity to review these books!

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.

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

#HorrorOctober: The Kiss of Death by Marcus Sedgwick

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Title: The Kiss of Death
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: My Swordhand is Singing #2
Edition: Hardback, 248 pages
Publication Details: September 1st 2008 by Orion Children’s Books
Genre(s):YA; Horror; Gothic
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from the library.

Goodreads // Purchase

Marcus Sedgwick’s tale of Venice and vampires is a captivating companion volume to the bestselling My Swordhand is Singing.

Marko and Sorrel meet in Venice for the first time. They must uncover the mystery of what has happened both to Sorrel’s father, plagued by a strange madness that prevents him from sleeping, and to Marko’s father, a doctor, who has mysteriously gone missing after travelling to Venice to help his old friend.

Years on from My Swordhand is Singing and Peter is still on the trail of the Shadow Queen. His search leads him to Venice, a city whose beauty disguises many ugly secrets. The Shadow Queen is there, gathering strength, recruiting a new army of the Undead for a final confrontation. This fabled city with its lapping waterways, its crumbling magnificence, dark, twisting alleyways and surprising piazzas is the perfect setting for Marcus’s captivating gothic novel of love and loss in 18th century Venice.

Review

I will read anything this man writes. FACT.

Marcus Sedgwick takes folklore and fairy tales and turns them into Gothic beauty. My Swordhand is Singing was the first Sedgwick book I ever read, and it remains my favourite. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick up the sequel.

The Kiss of Death is a story centred around Marko whose father is missing. Last known to have headed to Venice to see a patient- for he is a doctor- Marko heads off in search of him, against his mother’s best wishes.

Marko follows a thin trail and finds Sorrel, the daughter of his Dad’s patient. Sorrel’s father is dangerously ill, driven mad by an inability to sleep, it seems that both men, and now their children, have gotten into something they couldn’t quite imagine.

With the help of Peter (yay Peter’s back!), the three manoeuvre through the canals and streets of Venice to an abandoned Island said to be haunted and cursed since people hit by the Plague were sent there in quarantine years previously. Has Peter finally found the residence of the evil Shadow Queen, and can he save Marko and Sorrel’s fathers from a fate worse than death?

The Kiss of Death is a lyrical, beautifully written book, such as I have come to expect from Sedgwick. I was so happy to be reunited with Peter, and hear more of his tragic, heroic, story.

It’s a book about love, and what it is to simply endure life. In parts it’s dark and depressing, but, it left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Sigh.

The Kiss of Death can easily be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend My Swordhand is Singing too.

unicorn rating

This Week in Books 07.10.15 #HorrorOctober

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

I hope you’re all enjoying Horror October so far, and if you still want to get involved you can! Leave a comment or email me 🙂

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Now: Seize the Night ~ Various //The Kiss of Death ~ Marcus Sedgwick

Seize the Night is an anthology of short stories about vampires as they should be – brutal and terrifying. I’ve enjoyed a few of the stories so far but none of them have blown me away..yet.

I also picked up Kiss of Death which is the second book in the My Swordhand is Singing world (one of my favourite Sedgwick books). I’ve been wanting to find a copy for so long. So far it’s been worth the wait.

Then: The Lost Girl ~ R.L Stine

This one was very predictable but had some really gruesome, awesome moments so I loved for it for that reason. My review went up yesterday.

Next: ???

My next read for Horror October will be my beauuuuuutiful copy of Poe’s Stories & Poems.

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!

Top Ten Tuesday: Why Can’t I Quit Youuuuuu!

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit Or Have Quit (aka ten book series I think I’m going to abandon, ten bookish habits I want to quit, ten authors I quit reading, ten types of books I’m quitting, ten tropes I want to stop reading about, ten books I marked as DNF (did not finish) recently, etc.

Hmm bit of a strange topic this week, I thought. But, as I’m in the midst of Horror October, I’m going for 10 things I’m bored of in the Horror genre.

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1. Zombies: Just enough already!

2. Werewolves: I don’t have anything against werewolves, but I hate that they always appear in Vampire books. I like my vampire books to be about vampires, not werewolves…OK!?

3. Zombies masquerading as a virus: From The Girl with all the Gifts to The Scorch Trials…why does this keep happening!

4. Unsatisfying endings: I’m mainly thinking of Stephen King here. Horror has the tendency to go over the top at the end in order to shock readers one last time, but mostly it doesn’t work and just ruins the book.

5. The token creepy old guy: These characters are NEVER the killers and are out there to throw you off. But after seeing one, you’ve seen them all and they just became an annoying cliché.

6. Messing about with classics: I’m thinking of Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies and that trend of books. Just no.

7. Evil Faeries: I find it quite hard to accept that faeries are scary, and have read very few books which do that well.

8. Friendly, Fuzzy Vampires: NO! I’m sure I don’t need to explain.

That’s it, I’m done. I’m sure there’s loads more but I need to go and brush my horns and polish my fangs….

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The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs

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Title: Dinner with a Vampire
Author: Abigail Gibbs
Series: The Dark Heroine #1
Edition: Paperback, 549 pages
Publication Details: October 11th 2012 by Harper Voyager
Genre(s): YA; Paranormal Romance
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it second hand.

Goodreads // Purchase

One moment can change your life forever…

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape…no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price…

Review

It’s been quite a while since I read a vampire book, the last one was The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – which was A-Mazing – so Dinner with a Vampire had a tough act to follow and while it didn’t even come close, it was entertaining!

On a night out Violet Lee gets separated from her friends and witnesses mass murder on Trafalgar Square. It doesn’t take long for Violet to figure out that the murderers are not altogether normal. They’re fast and strong, and dress a bit odd, and of course they can’t let her go because she’s seen too much – you know the deal.

She is basically captured and given the choice to become one of them or become their food…

It’s not the most original plot, let’s face it, but to say it’s only about that would be an injustice, there is quite a lot of other, interesting stuff, going on as well.

I was really torn with this book to be honest. I couldn’t stop reading, but so many things infuriated me along the way. Violet is this feisty, smart-mouthed girl, who doesn’t seem to care a great deal that she’s being imprisoned by vampires, or that she’s away from her sister who is suffering with cancer. It made it hard to warm to her.

One of the first things she does after she’s captured is steal all of Kaspar’s (the vampire prince) condoms because she’s sick of hearing him have sex every night. It was obviously supposed to show her feisty side and the first signs of jealously or something, but it was just a bit odd, and felt quite juvenile in terms of plotlines.

This is also a book in which things don’t quite ring true at the time, and you just think the author is a bit crazy, but eventually it does all come together and make sense. I applaud Gibbs for doing that well, it was one of the reasons I couldn’t stop reading but it was so frustrating.

I found Gibb’s writing a bit hit and miss too. She sets the scene very well, and I loved the descriptions of the vampires and the hunters at the beginning, but it definitely got a bit muddled in places, mainly because of the alternating points of view. I really didn’t think we we needed Kaspar’s narration!

However, I liked the whole prophecy thing, and the romance was pretty hot, apart from a major anti-climax towards the end – I mean, I won’t give away spoilers but just know that something really pissed me off!

Meh, I don’t know if I’ll read the next one…maybe if I find it in a charity shop like I did this one.

unicorn rating 3

Horror October: Revisiting The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

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This review was originally posted a year ago today, and it was my favourite Horror October read of 2013. I still find myself thinking about it now and again. I want to reread it so bad but it’s just finding the time. Anyway, I thought I would start a tradition of reblogging my favourite Horror October read from the previous year.

And so here it is….

12813630 Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

I think I speak for many when I say that the vampire genre has been somewhat lacking since a certain series, let’s call it Smylight emerged.

Now, I’m not a Twilight hater by any means, quite the opposite, but it has opened up a whole world of shit and lameness when we come to YA Paranormal Romance and of course, vampire lit. I miss the good old days when vampires were actually supposed to be scary (sexy too of course, but scary first and foremost!), and pretty far from ‘normal’.

I miss the days of the more traditional vampire in fiction: Dracula, Carmilla, Lestat. I miss the fucked up worlds of Poppy Brite’s Lost Souls and Robin McKinley’s Sunshine…and here we have it. In The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black has taken these sinister and seductive vampires of legend and brought them into a modern, urban world. YES!

Tana is a great protagonist. Prone to inappropriate giggling fits, but other than that pretty awesome. She had it tough when her mum went ‘cold’ which is Black’s take on the vampire infection that has spread from city to city. Once you have been bitten by a vampire, the infection sets in and you begin to crave blood and nothing else. If you can survive without feeding for 88 days the infection passes but y’know, easier said than done.

That’s where the Coldtowns come in. Each city has one, a walled prison in which to quarantine the infected and house the already turned vampires. In Black’s world, the Coldtowns and certain vampires within them have become famous and alluring and they even have live feeds broadcast on TV so everyone can see into the lives of those inside.

Tana wasn’t one of those who dreamed of partying with the beautiful creatures she’d seen on TV, or of living forever but when she finds her best friend infected and chained up with a crazy, weak-looking vampire she knows there is only one place she can go.

Gavriel, the said vampire, is rather messed up which is totally hot. Oh how I’ve missed an insane, unpredictable and brutal vampire character. I’d like to see him and Edward Cullen go at it.

I loved that Holly Black managed to create this dystopian world in the internet age yet hang on to the feel of the traditional vampire. This is is the first novel by her that I’ve read (if you don’t count The Spiderwick Chronicles) and I was deffo impressed. You can tell that she’s a fan of the genre, and for me, she has done it justice. Hurrah!

unicorn rating

Details: Paperback, 432 pages. Published September 17th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
If you like this try: Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black is available in paperback from Waterstones, where you can also download a free preview.

Friday Feature: Search Term LOLZ

It’s been a while since I did a post on the weird and wonderful search terms that have brought people to my blog. It’s definitely one of my favourite WP features.

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There’s been a nice mix of the amusing, damn-right-confusing, and just-plain-worrying in the last six months. Here are some of the best!

1. ‘i hate divergent movie’

Hate is such a strong word, but yeah kinda. It was pretty terrible, right? The searcher (searchee?) probably wasn’t very satisfied with my extremely brief Divergent Rant, but I hope they have come to terms with their disappointment.

2. ‘dorian throne of glass groin’

Well I guess this one sort of speaks for itself, but I wonder what exactly they wanted to know about Prince Dorian’s groin? I reviewed Throne of Glass here.

3. ‘are there more team zombies or team unicorns’

Obviously, I’m Team Unicorn, so I would like to think that there are more people on the side of the magical beings than the slobbering undead, but who knows. I reviewed Holly Black et al’s Zombies Vs Unicorns here.

4. ‘poor lulu’

This is the first one to completely stump me. Who’s Lulu? And why are we feeling sorry for her? On further investigation it looks like it’s the catchphrase from a Harry Enfield sketch. How the hell that brought them here, I have no idea – but thanks for visiting, sketchshow fan.

5. ‘scooby gang bram stoker’

Hmm I like what they did there. Maybe they were looking for the equivalent of Buffy’s scooby gang in Dracula? Or maybe they were just really confused. Who Knows!? Hopefully my Vampire Guide helped clear things up.

6. ‘what happened to alex o’loughlin’

This happened, obviously.
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I mean, it’s no Moonlight, but (the ‘new’) Hawaii 5-0 is actually pretty good, and that’s basically what happened to Alex O’Loughlin. Hawaii happened. I hope the person who was trying to find him, found and enjoyed my Moonlight fangirling in 5 Reasons Vampire Show Moonlight was Ahead of its Time. Well, that’s assuming that they’ve seen Moonlight. If not, what a treat they’re in for.

7. ‘good breath teen girl’

The only thing I can think of that this would have led to is Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort book Take Your Last Breath. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. I hope the searcher wasn’t suffering from halitosis and in need of medical advice. I’m not equipped for that, soz.

8. ‘gay cannibal art’

Wow. I’m pretty proud that that term led someone to this blog. Job well done. I hope they went on to find some nice art for their living room. I’m guessing that the Hannibal shoutouts in my Bookish (and not so Bookish) posts might have had something to do with that one, or the book made out of human skin perhaps.

Until next time!