If someone asked me to name my favorite vampire books, I’d end up looking at them like a deer caught in headlights. Since I discovered vampire fiction this year, I’ve been sucked into it so much that I have too many favorites. I have read too many fabulous vampire novels to review each one individually, too. I want to share them with all of you, but how do I order them – by title? by author? by when I found them? by randomly having my children draw names out of hats? They are all great, so they’re in a random order.
So here are my favorite series and authors of fun vampire fiction. These make great beach reads (although you wouldn’t see a vampire out getting a sun tan) – they’re quick, fun, sexy, and have characters who will keep you interested in turning the next page. Just remember to look up every once in a while to double check that your kids aren’t being taken out by the tide or running off with another family!
Katie MacAlister has written a great series of vampire books (with two YA vampire books as Katie Maxwell – Got Fangs? and Circus of the Darned). They can be read individually or in order (which is my preference – starting with A Girl’s Guide to Vampires). In this series, vampires are Moravian Dark Ones – while they require blood to live, they don’t kill their, um, lunch – and actually, feeding becomes quite sensual. These books are well written and fun, and while they follow a theme: (Dark One has no soul, is unredeemed; Searches/bumps into/is hounded by a woman who is his Beloved/soul redeemer; They Join (following 7 steps), and vanquish a bad guy); Katie manages to mix it up in so many ways that there are still twists and turns that I don’t expect in each book. Sex, Lies And Vampires, especially surprised me in several ways after reading the other novels. The characters are all very well fleshed out, and you can see why they are paranormal romances from that sentence (heh). It’s fun to see the relationships develop between the characters- especially if you follow them through the series – former main characters have cameos in later books (plus crossover with the Young Adult books, too). These are “purchase and reread” books – you want to reread the novels after favorite characters have those cameos!
MaryJanice Davidson is the author of the Queen Betsy the Vampire/Undead series. In the first book, Undead and Unwed, Betsy is a laid off secretary who wakes up 2 days after getting killed in a hit and run. She’s shocked, and after trying (unsuccessfully) to kill herself, she goes back to her old life and then gets sucked (heh) into vampire politics. As the books progress, she deals with true love, roommates, her fated life, ghosts following her, and all kinds of surprises. These books read very quickly, so get the first three at once so you don’t have to drive back to the book store/library a couple hours later (1 – Undead and Unwed, 2 – Undead and Unemployed, 3 – Undead and Unappreciated). The fun, romance, and quirks of the characters grabs your attention and you can’t wait to find out what happens next. Plus you can’t stop reading while you’re giggling! In Davidson’s world, vampire feeding is also erotic, but the other rules and lives of vampires in her books are quite different than with other authors.
The Young Adult series starting with Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber has a different take on vampirism. The coffins and native ground are necessary for vampires in this world, and the vampire’s meat is served very, very rare. Raven is a Goth girl who has always been fascinated with vampires – how will her romance with new neighbor Alexander turn out – is he really a vampire? And once that is settled, can they have a dating relationship and still save the school from the bad guys? You know the bad guys are really Bad when you are hoping that the Soccer Stud Bully is safe from them! Great books – don’t discount anything just because it’s labelled “Young Adult” – give it a try.
The perfect books to put on display that Young Adult is not just for teens are the wonderful books by Stephenie Meyer – Twilight and New Moon. These are thick books that will fascinate you, and leave you waiting for more. As with the other books described here, the vampire world created by Stephenie Meyer is unique… each author creates their own mythology for their vampires. Romance, excitement, friendships, loyalty and danger are all explored with fabulous depth. The romance between Bella and Edward is transcendent – intense, yet chaste as is seemly for a Young Adult novel. Check out my full review here. These are the books that brought me into the paranormal romance world, and I am eternally grateful.
The vampire world within Happy Hour at Casa Dracula (Milagro de los Santos Series, Book 1) by Marta Acosta turns what I thought I knew of vampires on its head. In this book the “vampires” have a genetic disorder that requires them to drink blood, but it isn’t done to people. These very refined folks have a handyman living on the property to bottle animal blood. Milagro accidentally gets mixed up with them (I love the very idea of a “kissing accident”!), and she has to decide between an ex-boyfriend who wants her for biological testing and life within the compound of the genteel vampires. Mil felt out of her depth when she attended an Ivy League school, so living with the genteel is quite the challenge. This is a great vampire romance, but it needs a bit more romance, there’s a lot of excitement and danger. I’m thinking there will be more romance in the sequel – Midnight Brunch (Milagro de los Santos Series, Book 2). It’s great to see a multi-cultural vampire book, regardless.
In my to-read pile from the library is Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Bk. 1) by the highly recommended Charlaine Harris. I look froward to seeing how she takes on the vampire myths and legends.
I will probably have a “Vampire Favorites v2.0? in another couple months. You might notice that I’m not including the less romantic, vampire-hunter type books. While I like those, they have a completely different feel, and really don’t qualify as beach reads in my book.