Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First in a Series: Vampires That Don't Sparkle

The First in a Series posts are a new feature we'll be bringing to the blog to help fellow readers find a new series to enjoy.  Check our First in a Series tag or page for more suggestions on what to read next.

Before vampires were glittery teen heartthrobs, they were super sexy bad boys with a naughty side and a penchant for murder.  That's right, you heard me...before Edward Cullen there were leather pants wearing, human blood sucking pretty boys that wanted nothing more than to seduce a willing lady and kill anything that got in his way.

Enter the vampire series written with the fully mature adult in mind.  These blood sucking books have independent heroines, compelling heroes and plots that are too steamy for tv.

But don't take my word for it.  Grab the first book from one of these series and let me know what you think.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward
     Book 1:  "Dark Lover"
Six killers roam the night in Caldwell, New York.  The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a band of six warrior vampires tasked with protecting their species from brutal massacre.  The brothers use every weapon in their arsenal to fight Lessers created by the Omega.  From 40s to fists, the brothers kick ass and crack jokes while doing it.

But its not all murder, mayhem and glorious rap slang.  While the Brotherhood is a central theme in each book, the series overall is a full on romance, therefore each individual story focuses on one specific brother and his battle to find and hold on to true love.  And for super sexy alpha-males, it's not as easy as you'd think.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series isn't for the shy or the prudish.  The books are graphic when it comes to sex and the violent scenes aren't for the faint of heart.  That being said, the books are hilarious, tender and sometimes totally ridiculous in a "I can't believe I'm reading this...must turn the page" kind of way.

Undead/Queen Betsy Series by MaryJanice Davidson
    Book 1:  "Undead and Unwed"
Betsy wakes up dead, which is traumatic, but not nearly as traumatic as waking up in shoes from Payless.  After a truly heinous week, Elizabeth "Betsy" Taylor (for real) wakes up unemployed, single and on the worst liquid diet imaginable.  And it gets worse.  She's soon faced with letting her family know she's not really dead, looking for a new home and figuring out just what parts of vampire lore are real or not.  She's also courted by the darkly handsome and bloodthirsty Sinclair, which would be great, except she's not all that interested and he won't lay off the charm.

The Undead series is like a bloodthirsty Clueless.  Betsy is endearingly self-absorbed and oblivious to the world around her.  Her reactions to the day-to-day life of a vampire are hilarious and Sinclair's reactions to Betsy's shenanigans and ridiculous priorities are down right hysterical.

While there isn't an overarching plot that ties the series together, the main characters are interesting enough to keep the reader coming back for more, if only to see what kind of shoes Betsy picks up next.

The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison
     Book 1:  "Dead Witch Walking"
After the near extinction of the human population due to genetically modified tomatoes, the supernatural beings of the world revealed their true selves.  A generation later and Witches, Vampires and Weres live (mostly) side by side with humans.  In Cincinnati, bounty hunter Rachel Morgan hires her ass-kicking skills to the Internlander community to help keep the darker of the supernaturals in line in a world where Master Vampires keep the city under their grisly, blood soaked thumbs.

The Hollows series starts at the very beginning of Vampiric Charms and follows snarky witch Rachel, foul-mouthed pixy Jenks and damaged living vampire Ivy as they break away from local law enforcement to open their own business in an old church in the Hollows.

Each subsequent book in the series follows a new case or problem that can only be solved by Rachel and the team.  The plot of each book expands upon the last in a way that builds a rich and interesting alternate history and which allows the characters to grow beyond their beginnings.

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