“A Dark Inheritance” is a modern vampire story, so you kind of already know what to expect. A woman with a rare blood type catches the attention of several vampires and is kidnapped once she reaches 40, ripped away from her life and her family, and told she can never return to them. Unlike most vampire stories, Tina did not want the attentions of Kalmar, or The Count. She didn’t even know vampires existed and now… well, now she can’t leave his castle and her daughter thinks she’s dead. No matter what Tina does, she can’t seem to escape Kalmar and even the few times she kind of manages it, she finds out that life is exceedingly more dangerous outside his castle walls than within. There were parts of this story that I absolutely loved, and parts that still leave me feeling uncertain, but all in all, I thought “A Dark Inheritance” was a nice twist on a creature type that has been done to death—ha.
“Heir of Ashes” is one of the most fun non-stop action / paranormal thrillers I’ve read to date. We follow along as Roxanne flees from a science facility that kept her nearly half her life, performing barbarous experiments on her. She’s been on the run for a few years and the scientists are still eager to catch her, giving her no peace from the paranormal bounty hunters sent after her. Roxanne has no idea why this is; she knows she’s different but not the full extent of it, at least, not in a way that would account for the escalating pursuit. However, most other people know what she is, why she’s different, and want to use/cage/unleash that thing in her, but Roxanne doesn’t stop running long enough to truly get those answers. Ultimately, that was my only qualm with this book. For as much as I loved the thrilling, non-stop action and plot twists as Roxanne tries to get away from everyone after her, I needed the book to slow down for a hot minute so I didn’t feel as confused as Roxanne until about 67% into the story.
“Snow” is the story of a widow who finds herself invited to a Lord’s house so he can have a good time before he needs to settle down and get married, and leaves a vampire when she is attacked by the Lord’s recently turned ex-lover. That all happens in the first chapter! From there, Neva has to navigate all the changes being a vampire brings on top of never being able to see her family again, and being the center of a prophecy to end vampire’s long lives. Color me intrigued, right? And I was for the most part, as Elliot writes in extraordinarily lovely prose, especially in a fist person POV. But there were a few things that kept me from devouring this otherwise short and interesting story.
“Beyond The Vale” is the tale of Logan Leonard’s afterlife. Yup, our main character is dead, though he doesn’t remember how, or why, or much else really. All he knows is that in order to “earn his passage”—aka, get out of this in-between place—he needs to remember what happened, what led him to this place, and find a way to bring salvation to the other tortured souls in this land. If Logan fails, then everyone fails, everyone goes to Hell. So, you know, no pressure. This book reminded me a lot of “What Dreams May Come” mixed with “A Christmas Carrol” (tis the season after all), with a few animal guides for good measure. It was a fun ride, with a really powerful message that caught me completely off guard!
“The EF76 Strain” is a short zombie story, I hesitate to call it a book because, at under 60 pages, it’s more like a novella, but a bit on the short side for that, too. The story is told through a series of loosely connected events based on the “infected” people and their struggle to save themselves, or the people they care most about. It all starts with good intentions, a doctor trying to cure world hunger with a simple pill that has drastic side effects. Ergo: zombies. Except the people we see who have taken this pill and are affected, are not the people who should have taken it. They are people in a Florida suburb, not a starving 3rd world country. So why are they infected? Not sure. But they are. And now, we get to read their, often times, gory demise.
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