Review: Dance Until Dawn by Berni Stevens

berniDance Until Dawn by Berni Stevens

“Do you Believe in Love After Life?

At twenty-five, West-End dancer, Ellie Wakefield should be having the time of her life. The only problem is, since waking up in a three-hundred-year-old vampire’s leaky cellar, Ellie’s been very much dead. And to make matters worse, she’s found that an aversion to blood and a fear of the dark aren’t very helpful – especially when you’re a fledgling vampire.

William James Austen has fallen hard. He’s spent the last year loving Ellie from afar and now he’s finally able to be truthful about who and what he is. As the most powerful vampire in London, he’s used to getting what he wants. But this time, Will might just have bitten off more than he can chew.”

 

I found Dance until Dawn positively seductive! Ellie wakes up in a new gothic world of vampires. She is totally confused and that confusion leads to some of the most humourous one liners. There is some truly wonderful dialogue in the book and that is what carries it to a new level. Most of the early part of the book  is just Ellie and Will in one room getting to know each other and those kind of claustrophobic scenes are very well written. Berni Stevens writes in such a way that there are no distractions; it is just a singularly driven piece of written art.

Will is such a delicious character. He has a very tragic past but he still maintains his humanity. He is a cross between an old-fashioned gothic hero and an empathic modern man. This book really alters the misconceptions of what you may think vampires really are.

What really struck me about Dance Until Dawn was the fact that Will and Elinor were equals. They took turns rescuing another from various spots of bother. I found that very refreshing. I can not wait to see what Berni Steven’s writes next.

 

ericI caught up with Berni Stevens for a few Questions and this is what she had to say:

EPBR:What Inspired you to write dance until dawn?

BS: My inspiration initially was the desire to put London on the vampire map so to speak. The market suddenly became awash with paranormal romances from about 1992 onwards, but they were all American. All the television vampire series were American too, until Toby Whithouse came up with Being Human. (No pressure then!)

EPBR:What is your favourite vampire book and or film?

BS: Favourite book is a given – it has to be Bram Stoker’s Dracula which I have read over and over again. Favourite film is a little more difficult. I love the old Hammer Dracula films with Christopher Lee, even though the scripts leave a lot to be desired, they are still very dark and Gothic, and Christopher Lee is one of the best Draculas ever. (Apparently he detests being associated with the role these days, so he won’t thank me for saying this.) The Hunger, with David Bowie is another favourite, and for sheer madness, Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn.

chrislee drac

EPBR: Who is your favourite vampire?

BR:t has to be Count Dracula, although I love Spike from Buffy and Eric from True Blood too 

EPBR: What are you working on next?

BR: I’m working on the third book in the series, which features a lovelorn werewolf and a beautiful rock singer!

I’d like to thank Berni for all her support and the wonderful interview. I will be looking out for what she does next. Visit her website to keep up to date with her latest releases.

 

To continue our theme of fresh new vampire novels. No mention could be complete without the next book:

vampsovVampsov 1938: A Spectre haunting Europe by Daniel Ribot

“Ludmilla Vatinashkaya already struggles to balance the challenges of marriage and family with her promising career as a captain in Stalin’s army when she is ordered to direct Vampsov, a covert unit created to fight the most implacable enemies of the Soviet Union: vampires. Astonished and initially skeptical, Ludmilla takes her unit on a thrilling and violent trail of destruction as Vampsov hunts down the blood sucking enemies of Socialism. With the help of Vassily, a dark and brooding creature who denies his very nature for his love of the fledgling Soviet state, they confront the most notorious monster of all in his Transylvanian lair.

Vampsov 1938, brings to life in luscious detail the Stalin-era Soviet Union. Daniel Ribot has beautifully navigated this turbulent page of history to create an an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that’s hard to put down and impossible to forget. “

Fascist Vampires, The Cold war, Political allegories! This book has it all from fast paced action scenes to political intrigue. I don’t want to say too much and ruin anything for anyone but I was blown away by this book. This is a proper vampire story- no sparkles here. Incredible historical research and all fit in with a non stop thrill ride. Once you start you wont be able to put it down. This is an incredible debut and the author  is on the top of the list of writers to watch out for.

me!bwDaniel Ribot lives in Leicester in the United Kingdom and writes all kinds of stuff up to and including science fiction and urban fantasy. He is too fond of travelling and has spent long periods in France, Mexico, Spain and New Zealand as well as the rain-lashed British Isles. He also holds the only PhD in Mexican comic books on the Eurasian landmass. If the circumstance should arise that he develops any hobbies, interests or any of life’s significant milestones, he promises to let everyone know.

Isaac Asimov, Michael Moorcock and Jules Verne first fired Daniel’s imagination as a reader. His later explorations of particularly Latin American magical realism (Borges, Carpentier, Asturias, Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa and Bolaño), opened up his mind to the possibilities of fantasy as a vehicle to express serious ideas. He is a founder member of ‘The Speculators’ (Leicester’s SF/Fantasy writers group) and the Phoenix Writers. Daniel blogs (on writing, music and comics) at: http://floppybootstomp.wordpress.com

I managed to track Dan Ribot down and ask him and answer a few questions for us:

EPBR: What inspired you to write Vampsov 1938: A spectre haunting Europe?

DR:  I was inspired when during a discussion down the pub, I argued that Vampires would make natural Nazis, given their love of blood, soil and aristocracy (‘Count’ Dracula, no less!). My fave vampire film has to be the first Blade because vampire killers should look cool in shades.

EPBR: What are you working on now?

DR: At the moment I am working on the sequel to Vampsov 1938 which I have called (Imaginatively enough) Vampsov 1940. It ties up a lot of the loose ends left over from the first volume including what happened to Lieutenant Gansz and the links between Russia’s vampires and Leon Trotsky. It also develops the relationship between Ludmilla and her husband. So far it has been an entertaining book to write. I hope to have a finished draft in the near future”

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The kettle is on at EPBR because you never know who is going to drop by. Rhoda Baxter is a wonderful novelist with such warmth and wit; has a book coming out in the Summer with Choc lit.

drjanuaryDoctor January by Rhoda Baxter

If you keep looking back, you might miss what’s standing right in front of you …

Six months after a painful break-up from Gordon, Beth’s finally getting her life back on track. She has faith in her own scientific theories and is willing to work hard to prove them. She’s even beginning to see Hibbs, her dedicated lab partner, as more than just a lousy lothario in a lab-coat and goggles.

So when Gordon arrives back from America without warning and expects to be welcomed back into Beth’s arms, she’s totally thrown. She also quickly begins to see that Gordon isn’t the man she thought he was … Hibbs has always held a candle for Beth, but he can only wait so long for her to realise there’s more to life than being patronised and bullied by the one who’s meant to love and protect her.

Will Beth forsee the explosive nature beneath Gordon’s placid surface before he destroys everything she’s worked for, both inside and outside the lab?”

rhodaNow to catch up with the wonderful Rhoda Baxter for some vampy questions:

EPBR: What is your favourite vampire book?

RB: Vampire State of Mind by Jane Lovering (I know Jane’s a friend now, but I was a fan way before I met her. You know what they say ‘don’t meet your heroes, they’ll only get drunk and talk about the Tena lady). I loved this book because it didn’t take vampire sexiness too seriously and mixed the fantastical with the really very normal. Although, come to think of it, that book would never have been written if it weren’t for Buffy…

EPBR: Who is your favourite Vampire?

RB: Lestat from The Vampire Lestat (by Anne Rice). In Lestat you have the ultimate innocent corrupted, a superb villain and a chance for Tom Cruise to really act. What’s not to love?

EPBR: What are you working on next?

RB: Well technically, I’m writing a book about a girl called Olivia who is going to be best man at her best friend’s wedding. But really, I’m procrastinating, writing blog posts, mucking about from Twitter and generally doing anything but writing. I will get to it. Honest I will. I just have to polish the sink again…

Thank you Rhoda Baxter and Dan Ribot- it was a pleasure having you here today. Tomorrow I will be reviewing Jane Lovering’s Vampire State of mind, and I assure you -you are in for a treat!

Today’s quiz is “Which Vampire Diaries character are you?” Don’t forget to visit the FaceBook site to give us a like and find more fun, freebies, competitions and recommendations; and don’t forget to post the results of the quiz. We love hearing from you. Now I will leave you with a classic vampire film: George Hamilton’s “Love at First bite”. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Refuge by Kirsty Ferry

refugeRefuge by Kirsty Ferry

“A legendary dagger in the hands of a vampire slayer… A nineteenth century girl with nowhere left to turn… A modern-day field trip to Lindisfarne… When worlds collide and the only way out is a choice nobody should have to make, where do you find your refuge? Set within the sanctity of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the Northumbrian coast, Refuge is a story interlinking modern day with a dark and terrifying past – and the story of the immortals who carry their hatred with them throughout the centuries.”

This is a multilayered book that spans many timelines. Normally that is very difficult to pull off but not only did Kirsty Ferry pull it off, she left you saying “Ahaa” at the end. This book was so well written, it was almost sculpted. From the start you can feel the gothic atmosphere and it immediately made me think of Stoker.

This really isn’t your predictable Vampire story- anything can happen and it often does, when you least expect it. Kirsty Ferry put a fresh spin on a tired genre by making her characters homicidal – verging on psychotic but yet, devilishly seductive. The relationship between Cassandra and Veva is a very complex and bizarre relationship; it reminded me of Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn in “Death becomes her”.

Refuge is steeped in historical details and it is a thrilling ensemble book who characters all come together for different reasons on a vampirical pilgrimage. These day walking vampires, have centuries of intertwining pasts together but it isn’t until they reach the Refuge, that it all comes to a climactic end.

I loved this book because it was fresh and interesting. I found the characters compelling and exciting. I highly recommend.

 

I was lucky enough to catch up with the author for some questions and answers:

EPBR: What inspired you  to write Refuge?

KF: It started from a romantic pocket novel I tried to write which was terrible – I ended up hating the characters and said jokingly to my cousin at my birthday party, ‘I hate them so much I just want to kill them off . In fact, I might just turn them into vampires or something to get rid of them.’ So she said ‘Do it!’ And I thought, ‘Hmmmm, yep, that would work.’ I wanted to write a story about a local place as well, having used Hadrian’s Wall in my previous novel, and thought I could centre the story on Holy Island – the last place you would expect to find a creature of the night. It all just fell into place from there. And I actually love my characters now. They are far more suited to the dark side of love!

EPBR: Do you have any other vampire plans for more books?

KF: I left Refuge open-ended. There is potential there for another story – I have a couple of characters who I kind of left hanging there subtly to bring them back from the undead again – but I haven’t thought about a plot yet. Maybe one day…

EPBR: Who is your favourite Vampire?

KF: Angel from Buffy- just has to be!

EPBR: What is your favourite book/ and or vampire film?

KF: Oh it has to be bookwise – Berni Steven’s Dance Until Dawn and filmwise, Johnny Depp’s Dark Shadows.

*Tommorow I will be reviewing Berni Steven’s Dance Until Dawn

Also by Kirsty Ferry:

snow kirst

“Three eras. Three young women. Three Guardians, separated by centuries. Aemelia: the Christian daughter of a Roman Commandant. Meggie: accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century. Liv: a twenty-first century teenager, intent on finding information for a project. When horrors from the past threaten her, Liv discovers she is a Guardian of the mystical Coventina’s Well. She must work with the spirits who linger there, and use their combined power to banish evil from the sacred spring. Set amongst the wild landscape of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, the Guardians must confront the tragic past and the potential future in order to help each other survive.”

 

venge of the modern vampire-

A strange metamorphosis has occurred to the vampire over that past 30 years. Vampires went from the mediaeval scourge of the darkness to vegetarian emos. That is a huge gap after all those centuries. So what happened?

Vampire have always been depicted as the spawn of Satan throughout history. From Vlad Tepes to Elisabeth Bathory- Vampires have always been evil predators that would kill you in seconds. I think it all started with Lord Byron’s Vampyre. He was the first to romanticized the vampire. Then came Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Still a bad boy, but he used seduction rather than brute violence to get his pray. However, when the first motion picture of Nosferatu hit the cinema in 1922, he was played by a rodent faced Max Shrek that in no way could be considered sexy.

It would take another twenty years before Bella Lugosi. Bella did make his Dracula a bit more sexier, but the character was still the evil villain. Twenty more years later we have the Hammer years with Christopher Lee reinventing the genre for a whole new audience.. Twice as sexy as Bella Lugosi but also twice as evil, not entirely at the modern vampire yet.

For another twenty years, vampires continued to be evil blood sucking bastards, but then “Interview with a vampire” hit our screens. The book had a cult following since it’s release in 1976 but it was not until Tom Cruise was mentioned that people took notice. Anne Rice’s vampires had humanity, albeit, possibly a soul. The talked openly  about regrettable mistakes and loss. Although widely remarked as being homo-erotic, here were vampires you could relate to.

The the flood gates opened- Vampire were cool and hip for the first time in history. “Buffy the Vampire” even made them quite lovable. Angel struggles with his vampire identity while trying to maintain relationships and his soul. For the first in history we have a non threatening male vampire would you would want to be friends with.

Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels and the subsequent television show brought us deeper into the political of vampirical hierarchy  and further de-mystified them. Then it happened- Twilight. If you listen closely, that sound you hear, is Vlad Tepes turning in his grave. With twilight we have the first emasculated vampire who would rather listen to emo music in a darkened room than feed off the villagers.

Yet again Vampires are repulsive- not because they have rat faces and feed of you like a parasite; but because they are angst ridden, emotional crippled teens. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the Twilight books, but they did nothing for Vampires Street Cred.

Maybe it is human nature to parody that which scares us, or we just reached a point where there is nothing more that can be added to Vampire mythology. Either way- the only vegetarian vampire that I will take seriously is Count Duckula and twilight sparkles should be left to My little pony. I am hoping that Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain Television series bring some gravitas to genre and some much-needed Vampire P.R. Luckily the Queen of Vampires, Anne Rice is here to save the day by releasing a new Lestat book called “Prince Lestat” It could not come at a better time to kick-start the vampire genre again.

This week I am very lucky that I am reviewing Four new vampire books this week. Each with its own unique spin on the genre. Vampires will always be with it, as they have been for centuries- but with the help of authors like Kirsty Ferry, Dan Ribot, Berni Stevens, Jane Lovering and Sarah Tranter;  Vampires can be exciting again.

 

I also caught up with the lovely Katie Oliver, Author of the “Dating Mr. Darcy Series” for some vampire Q&A:

prada-and-prejudiceEPBR:Would you ever write a vampire novel?

KO:I would!  I love a good vampire yarn (Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles,” and Matt Haig’s The Radleys, about a vampire family trying to ‘pass’ as normal, are genius).  But with so many great books already out there, the challenge is to write within genre conventions and still deliver a story with a twist. It’d be a LOT of fun to try, though..
Perhaps I could pen a vampire chick lit novel, with a female vamp who spends eternity shopping for shoes, and the perfect shade of… BLOOD? MWAH ha ha…

EPBR:What is your favourite vampire book and or film?

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice is evocative, scary, moody, and unforgettable. I fell in love with the nineteenth-century New Orleans setting – the moss-draped oaks, the antebellum mansions, the French Quarter, and the dark, mournful beauty of the bayou.  Sting read the book and liked it so much he wrote a song about it – “Moon Over Bourbon Street.”

EPBR: Who is your favourite vampire?

KO: As far as movie vampires go, Frank Langella was the first actor to bring sensuality to the role of Dracula, giving the famous fiend a sexy new dimension. For laughs, you can’t beat George Hamilton in “Love at First Bite” or the campy Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins in “Dark Shadows.” But my favorite literary vampire is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. As a suave gentleman of means by day and a ruthless bloodsucker by night, Count Dracula is diabolical and unparalleled in fiction. But my favorite vampire of all?  It’s got to be Sesame Street’s The Count, of course! One! One vampire bat! Two! Two vampire.

 

Here are some other great books for you to enjoy:

the radley'sThe Radleys by Matt Haig

“Move over, Cullens! The Radleys are an average family living in the suburbs –
they just happen to be vampires. As funny as it is scary!” (Bliss) “A refreshing
alternative to much of the paranormal fodder out there.” (The Bookseller) “We
should expect something different from the fare provided by Stephenie Meyer and
her numerous imitators. And we will not be disappointed.” (The Irish Times)
“Pointed, clever and witty.” (The Independent)”

 

 

 

 

discoveryA Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

‘Intelligent and off-the-wall, it will be irresistible to Twilight fans’ — The
Sunday Times ‘A bubbling cauldron of illicit desire…all the ingredients for an
assured saga that blends romance with fantasy’ — Daily Mail ‘An inventive
addition to the supernatural craze… Historian Harkness’s racy paranormal
romance has exciting amounts of spells, kisses and battles, and is recounted
with enchanting, page-turning panache’ — Marie Claire ‘A romp through magical
academia’ — Guardian ‘…a grand romance smartly dressed up in the fashion for
the occult…Sauced up with magic as well as being intelligent, the novel will
be irresistible to Twilight fans’ — The Sunday Times

 

princePrince Lestat by Anne Rice

To Be released October 30, 2014

The Vampire world is in crisis — vampires have been proliferating out of control and burnings, huge massacres, have commenced all over the world. Old vampires, roused from their earth-bound slumber, are doing the bidding of The Voice: which commands that they indiscriminately burn vampire-mavericks in cities from Paris to Mumbai, Hong Kong to Kyoto and San Francisco.

 We are back with the worlds and beings of Anne Rice’s legendary Vampire Chronicles — in present-day New York and Ancient Egypt, 4th-century Carthage, 14th- century Rome, Renaissance Venice; with Louis de Pointe du Lac; Armand the eternally young, whose face is that of a Boticelli angel; Mekare and Maharet; Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the Secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true child of the Millennia. These come together with a host of new, seductive supernatural creatures in this large, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious novel, to seek out who — or what — The Voice is, and to discover the secret of what it desires and why.

 And, at the book’s centre, is always and forever the seemingly absent, curiously missing hero-wanderer, the dazzling, dangerous rebel-outlaw — the great ‘hope’ of the Undead, the dazzling Prince Lestat…


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Today’s quiz is “Are you a Vampire” from the BBC Cult website. Don’t forget to post
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