Review: Vampire State of Mind by Jane Lovering

VampirestateofmindVampire State of Mind by Jane Lovering

“Jessica Grant knows vampires only too well. She runs the York Council tracker programme making sure that Otherworlders are all where they should be, keeps the filing in order and drinks far too much coffee.

To Jess, vampires are annoying and arrogant and far too sexy for their own good, particularly her ex-colleague Sil, who’s now in charge of Otherworld York. When a demon turns up and threatens not just Jess but the whole world order, she and Sil are forced to work together.

But then Jess turns out to be the key to saving the world, which puts a very different slant on their relationship. The stakes are high. They are also very, very pointy and Jess isn’t afraid to use them – even on the vampire she’s rather afraid she’s falling in love with … 

 

Vampire State of mind is a new and inventive twist on the vampire genre. I really was impressed with this book! A time-slip opens in Wales and it is a door way to other dimensions filled with supernatural beings. They start filtering through to our world and cause havoc. The themes are very Lovecraftian as well as being alternative history at its best.

I can’t remember when I highlighted so many paragraphs in a book before. There were so many funny lines, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. There was one line about using the television show “Buffy the vampire slayer” as an instructional video, that kept me giggling al day.

Jessica and Sil have a bizarre romance. At times it is more hate than love- but it adds another dimension to Sil’s demonic symbiot. There is a lot of the man left behind in their to make an impact. There are some very tender scenes about redemption and salvation towards the end.

Vampire State of mind is a roller coaster ride of excitement with added pithy retorts. It is a must read for Anita Blake and Kelly Armstrong fans.  Jessica Grant is fierce heroine that can not be missed. She is the Yorkshire version of Buffy.

This is Urban Fantasy at it finest and a new chapter in British Vampire Mythology. Jane Lovering injects her trademark humour and plenty of kickass.

Falling Apart is the next book in the series and it is going to be available June 6th, 2014 from Choc lit:

fallingapartFalling Apart by Jane Lovering

“In the mean streets of York, the stakes just got higher – and even pointier.

Jessica Grant liaises with Otherworlders for York Council so she knows that falling in love with a vampire takes a leap of faith. But her lover Sil, the City Vampire in charge of Otherworld York, he wouldn’t run out on her, would he? He wouldn’t let his demon get the better of him. Or would he?

Sil knows there’s a reason for his bad haircut, worse clothes and the trail of bleeding humans in his wake. If only he could remember exactly what he did before someone finds him and shoots him on sight.

With her loyalties already questioned for defending zombies, the Otherworlders no one cares about, Jess must choose which side she’s on, either help her lover or turn him in. Human or Other? Whatever she decides, there’s a high price to pay – and someone to lose”

 

I’m very pleased that I was able to have Jane Lovering answer a few questions for us:

janeEPBR: What inspired you to write VSOM?

JL:I’d read quite a lot of vampire fiction, but it ALL seemed to be completely US-centric, which I, never having been to the States because I am rarely allowed out, couldn’t relate to. Also, all the vampires were so… BUTCH. All Alpha-Males, dedicating to Saving Their Soul Mates (don’t get me started on the soul-mate thing..free will? What free will?). So I decided to write my own take on vampires. If vampires really were real, and really existed in Britain, what would we do? What would they do? Well, there would be a phenomenal amount of paper work involved, and someone would have to do it..and, if vampires used to be purely human, then surely there should be OCD vampires, and shy vampires and pretty rubbish vampires, just like there are people. They can’t ALL be gorgeous alpha-males stalking their soul-mates, because nothing would get done!
BUFFYSTABSo I took the view that vampires lived among us, and went from there…

EPBR: What is your favourite vampire book/film?

JL: I really loved the first few Anita Blake books from Laurel K Hamilton, before she got possessed by the porn fairy and started writing loosely-linked sex scenes. When Anita Blake was just a zombie raising necromancer and the vampires were threatening characters. So I’d probably say Guilty Pleasures is my favourite. Again, it’s US set and the vamps are very…well, I have the feeling bulging thews are probably mentioned somewhere, but I did like the kickass heroine. Before she just became ass.

EPBR: Who is your favourite vampire?

JL: I’m going to hark back to a book very few people have heard of, by Louise Cooper, called ‘In Memory of Sarah Bailey’. The protag in that is a vampire (sort of) called Keith (stop giggling, vampires are allowed to be called Keith). It’s a book I read years and years ago, and one that first made me sit up and take notice of vampires as something other than creatures in black cloaks with suspicious middle-European accents. That’s the vampires, not their cloaks, obviously.

 

Also by Jane Lovering:

 

pleasedont stopPlease Don’t stop themusic by Jane Lovering

 

How much can you hide?
Jemima Hutton is determined to build a successful new life and keep her past a dark secret. Trouble is, her jewellery business looks set to fail – until enigmatic Ben Davies offers to stock her handmade belt buckles in his guitar shop and things start looking up, on all fronts.
But Ben has secrets too. When Jemima finds out he used to be the front man of hugely successful Indie rock band Willow Down, she wants to know more. Why did he desert the band on their US tour? Why is he now a semi-recluse? And the curiosity is mutual – which means that her own secret is no longer safe …

 

starStar Struck by Jane Lovering

“Our memories define us – don’t they?

And Skye Threppel lost most of hers in a car crash that stole the lives of her best friend and fiancé. It’s left scars, inside and out, which have destroyed her career and her confidence.

Skye hopes a trip to the wide dusty landscapes of Nevada – and a TV convention offering the chance to meet the actor she idolises – will help her heal. But she bumps into mysterious writer Jack Whitaker first. He’s a handsome contradiction – cool and intense, with a wild past.

Jack has enough problems already. He isn’t looking for a woman with self-esteem issues and a crush on one of his leading actors. Yet he’s drawn to Skye.

An instant rapport soon becomes intense attraction, but Jack fears they can’t have a future if Skye ever finds out about his past … Will their memories tear them apart, or can they build new ones together?

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Vampire1Romance and the Vampire

What is the primal allure that the vampire possesses? Why is the vampire such a seductive creature. In some ways, the vampire represent who we want to be by appealing to our vanity. We all want to be young and beautiful forever and vampires provides us with that. As part of the package comes the sense of power. The idea of living without fear, or the fear of death is an exceptional cathartic notion. I don’t know how many of us would refuse such an offer. You could argue that immortality is more of a curse than a blessing but it is something that we will never experience as mere humans.

Vampires represent total freedom. They are not tired down jobs or the pursuit of money. They don’t worry about heating bills- instead they flit from one place to another in search of hedonistic pleasures. Sexually they are free to have as many partners as they please regardless of gender. They are predators totally without consequences.

vampire1a

Vampires live off other people by imbibing blood, and they will feed indiscriminately. They have no compassion or empathy for their victims; human are just cattle for eating or playing with. If we look at the traits of the vampire and apply them to a human- you would call that person a psychopath; and it would be very fitting.

Why is that the vampire dances a fine a line of what will set our hearts a blaze and what would result in a restraining order in the real world. This is my problem with the Twilight series; although I did largely enjoy it- I found they got their romance mixed up with creepy. It felt like it was more about possession than loving partnership. Why do we dream of these supernatural scenarios but when they become reality with a human, the word stalker is used.

Fantasy is just that, and should remain in the realm. The kind of relationship between a human and vampire could never exist between humans, because that would be a very unhealthy co- dependant/narcissistic relationship. Probably best leaving the Eric Northmans’ of the vampire world to our dreams and romance novels.

samSamantha Tonge the author of Doubting Abbey stopped by to answer a few vampy questions for us:

 

ST: I would love to write a paranormal book, but not so much a vampire one – much as I love the vampire genre, I wonder what I could contribute to it now. I feel to add something of worth, I would have to come up with something REALLY original, which is difficult since there has already been so many successful takes on the concept.

 

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

ST: Oh, it has to be Twilight. I LOVED the books and ADORED the film series and have to admit to a wee bit of a crush on vegetarian vampire, Edward Cullen. To me, he is the ultimate romantic hero, torn between desiring the heroine but wanting to do the best for her. A great creation by Stephanie Meyer.

EPBR: Who is your favourite vampire?

ST: Much as I love Edward Cullen, I am also a huge fan of Klaus from The Vampire Diaries and The Originals series. He is a ruthless, unforgiving character who nevertheless occasionally shows glimpses of vulnerability. The baddies are always fun!

Samanatha Tonge has a dectective story in The People’s Friends Special No. 87  April 2nd, 2014 entitled “The Mother’s day jinx” be sure you get yourself a copy- I know I will.

 

 

Here are a few vampire series that are worth having a look at:

saintsOf Saints and shadows by Christopher Golden

A secret sect of the Catholic Church, armed with an ancient book of the undead called The Gospel of Shadows, has been slowly destroying vampires for centuries. Now the book has been stolen, and the sect races to retrieve it before their purpose is discovered: a final purge of all vampires. As the line between saints and shadows grows ominously faint, private eye Peter Octavian is drawn into the search. And he’ll do anything to find the book … for Peter Octavian is also a vampire.
Ostracized by his kindred for refusing to take part in the ‘blood song’, he cannot stand by and watch while they are destroyed. In a deadly game with a driven, sadistic assassin, the trail leads to Venice at the time of carnival, where the Defiant Ones, as the vampires are known, are engaged in a savage battle for their lives. Filled with plot twists, mystery, sex and violent death, Of Saints and Shadows is a spine-tingling thriller which opens the door to the world of The Shadow Saga.

tudorvampBlood of the rose by Kate Pearce

When vampire slayer Rosalind Llewellyn had to join forces with her enemy Christopher Ellis to defeat a rogue vampire threatening Henry VIII, their alliance led to a surprising passion. Reunited after a year’s separation, they now face a new threat that could destroy their last chance at happiness.

Today’s quiz is “Which character from Dracula would you be?” Don’t forget to check out the Facebook page and give us a like. I will be posting other book recommendations, freebie and competitions, so don’t miss out.  We love to hear from you so please post us your quiz result. Happy reading!

Feature: Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge

dountingSwapping downstairs for upstairs… How hard can it be!?

Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin –
I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke!

The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion.

So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no
flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward. Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…

doubtingmemeThis was an adorable book. It was like The Prince and the Pauper (the Barbie version) meets Jam and Jersusalem in a run down stately home for a reality Television show.  Gemma is such a lovable character, she really steals the show with her humour.

At first Lord Edward comes off as a bit starchy, but Gemma brings out his Mr. Darcy side and he really becomes very wonderful. There are  many slap stick moments between him and Gemma; that just make this such an endearing novel.

Doubting Abbey is full of rich desvriptions of what life is really like living in a stately home. You really feel transported to your own Downton Abbey and a way of life that most of can only dream about. I highly recommend this funny, light hearted book.

samI was lucky enough to catch up with Samantha Tonge lastweek for an exclusive interview:

EPBR: What inspired you to be an author?

ST:It sound corny, but writing is something I always knew I would do. I read voraciously as a child, but didn’t attempt my first novel until my twenties. Then I knuckled down to the business of novel-writing seriously in my late thirties. It felt like coming home.

EPBR: What inspired Doubting Abbey’s identity switch?

ST: The global success of Downton Abbey fascinated me and made me wonder how a modern gal would cope with being thrust into such an old-fashioned, stuff environment. Putting characters into situations out of their comfort zone is always huge fun!

dountingmeme1EPBR: The cookery school is part of the plot –are you a good cook?

ST: Yes and no – I consider myself to be a good baker and love making cakes and biscuits. And I’m okay at savourymeals, as long as I have a recipe to follow. But I’m not one of those cooks who can instinctively just throw ingredients into a pan and come up with something wonderful.

 EPBR: What is your favourite dessert?

ST: Ooh, that’s hard, there are so many to choose from! Um… Sticky toffee pudding with custard. No, chocolate tart. Urgh, but then there is Key lime pie… You see my dilemma!

peopelsEPBR: What is your favourite mansion house tv or film?

ST: It has to be the stately home at LymePark, near where I live, the grounds are beautiful – photo attached. It’s where Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth was filmed. The building is similar to how I imagine Applebridge Hall to be, from Doubting Abbey.

Samantha’s latest story “An Acquired taste” is in this weeks issue of “The People’s Friend” dated March 8, 2014. Get your copy of this wonderful magazine while supplies last.

Samantha often writes for “The People’s Friend” and other womens magazines, I will keep you updated on when are where to find them.

key lime pieKey lime pie is one of my favourite pie as well and very hard to get a good one outside of Florida. If you are brave enough to try your hand at it:

Ingredients

Preparation method

  1. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the crushed biscuits. Lightly press into the base of a 23cm/9in deep loosed-bottomed fluted flan tin. Chill whilst preparing the filling.
  2. To prepare the filling: place the lime juice into a large bowl, add the cream and condensed milk. Whisk for 1-2 minutes. Add the lime zest and lightly stir. Pour onto the prepared biscuit base. Place onto a tray and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
  3. Decorate with crystalized lime zest and serve.

Receipe owned by BBC GoodFoods

Here are some other books you may enjoy:

habitsA love story, a happy end, a lively attack, haute-couture dresses and haute-cuisine meals: some quotable characters, some agreeable sex, some very witty lines – what else can you want from a novel? – unless perhaps a soupçon of Weldon perception and brains. Think fin de siècle and it’s all here, in HABITS OF THE HOUSE.

Isobel, Countess of Dilberne, is obliged to pair off her handsome, wilful son with a rich and pretty heiress from the Chicago stockyard. He’s all the new internal combustion machines: she’s all art. It’s a clash of cultures and principles. Gold mines fail, bankers plot, bad girls flourish, London fog descends, Royalty intervenes, and your heart’s in your mouth, hoping for the best for these unlikely lovers in the first in Weldon’s Love and Inheritance trilogy.

stately

Hetty Longden’s mother thinks that looking after Great Uncle Samuel’s crumbling stately home will be just the thing for Hetty’s broken heart. Hetty doesn’t mind; at least she can be miserable in private. But ‘private’ is a relative term in a village which revolves around the big house. Particularly when you are expected to thwart Great Uncle Samuel’s awful heir, and his nefarious plans for his inheritance. Pitchforked into the community’s fight to save the manor, Hetty has no time to wallow. And once she has shared her troubles with one neighbour (Caroline: a very understanding shoulder, despite her glamorous appearance and impossibly long legs), and cast an appreciative eye over another (Peter: equally long-legged, but offering rather more practical help), she wonders if her heart is irretrievably broken after all…

 

Series five of Downton Abbey was annouced last month and it will hit our television screens in the Autumn of 2014. I found this documentary to get you in the mood, it is “Secrets of the Manor House”:

Today’s quiz is “Which Downton Abbey character are you”. Don’t forget to post your results. We love hearing from you.