Wicked Fantasy by Nina BangsThe ever-talented and wickedly funny Nina Bangs wraps up her Castle of Dark Dreams trilogy with the aptly named Wicked Fantasy, which proves a delightful and satisfying treat.

The drop-dead-gorgeous immortal warrior Conall O’Rourke is cursed by the goddess Morrigan to protect the descendants of the man, Sean Kavanagh, he dispatched on the battlefield some 800 years ago. But when his latest charge shows up at the Castle of Dark Dreams, the ultimate adult theme park, his head and heart are thrown for a loop. The lovely Gerry Kavanagh, a newbie vampire and officer for an organization that brings lawbreaking non-human entities to justice, isn’t so keen on being protected by the immortal stud muffin but her hormones (and heart) have other ideas.

The familiar cast of characters returns — Eric, Donna, Brynn, Kim, Holgarth, Ganymede, Asima, Fo, Gabriel and, of course, the indefatigable sex-and-fashion-obsessed Sparkle Stardust. A few new faces make appearances, including a shape-shifting thief bent on liberating the castle’s guests of their glittering valuables, and another cosmic troublemaker who is determined to outdo Sparkle when it comes to matchmaking.

Wicked Fantasy is a fun romp with loads of laughs and some hot and steamy scenes in between. Ms. Bangs delivers with her usual down-home style and wit.

Have you read Wicked Fantasy? If so, please feel free to leave a comment and let us and others know what you think.

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Rises the Night by Colleen GleasonWell, ladies (and any gents found hereabouts), the majority of voters cast their lots for Colleen Gleason's Rises the Night for our inaugural reading group pick. We'll be discussing the book throughout the next month (July 2007) on our forum. You'll make your discussion posts to the Rises the Night board — be sure and take a quick read through the posting rules for the board if you haven't had a chance to do so yet.

This is a really good choice for the first reading group selection. Rises the Night is an extremely well-written book, as is its predecessor in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles, The Rest Falls Away. The characters are uncommonly strong, and both books maintain a high level of suspense throughout. I can't wait to read it again and to jump into the discussion. I hope all you vampire romance readers will join in as well. 

AND, as a special bonus, Colleen herself said she'll be dropping by to join in, too. So get your questions ready and get to reading!

Vampire of Venice Beach by Jennifer ColtThe Vampire of Venice Beach is a fun little mystery, full of quirky characters, slaps happy comedy, and a touch of social commentary. Third in Jennifer Colt’s zany mystery series, this book finds the McAfee Twins, Kerry and Terry, submerged into the dark underground of the vampire subculture of Southern California and chasing a blood-sucking killer. It’s not long before their super-snooping around the crime scene finds the redheaded sisters next on the hit list. And what would any story be with out a little romance? Delicious Detective John Boatwright adds a little innuendo and a whole lot of hunk to this nutty little novel.

Cheers to Jennifer Colt. The Vampire of Venice Beach is a smack-happy, action packed little read. The brightly painted characters pop on the page. Vampire lovers will not be disappointed by this book’s entertaining style and imagery.

The Vampire of Venice Beach should be a staple in every vampire romance lover’s beach bag. Happy reading! Don’t forget your sunblock!

Have you read The Vampire of Venice Beach? If so, feel free to post a comment and let us know what you think!

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Here’s a list of known upcoming vampire romance releases for July 2007.

July 1
July 3
July 31

I recently read the first three volumes of Susan Squires’ Companion series — The Companion, The Hunger, The Burning — and have to say I’m thoroughly impressed. I, by happenstance, had already read the fourth volume of this series, One With The Night (read our review), and found it a fantastic read. The previous volumes are equally well-written with Ms. Squire’s honeyed writer’s voice spinning delicious tales of romance and intrigue.

The Companion by Susan SquiresThe Companion tells the story of Ian Rufford and Elizabeth Rochewell, whose paths cross after Ian survives being captured and sexually enslaved by the beautiful, cunning and vile Ashtiri, and his change into a vampire after she abandons him in the desert. Ian and Elizabeth meet aboard a ship bound for England, he hoping to reclaim at least a portion of his former life and she heading into a conventional existence after spending her young life helping her recently deceased Egyptologist father. Drawn to each other, the exotic and independent Elizabeth and mysterious and brooding Ian soon find themselves embroiled in a journey to stop an ancient evil as love and passion flares to life between them.

The Hunger by Susan SquiresThe Hunger centers around Countess Beatrix Lisse, a born vampire who is the toast of London’s social scene and who has never let her heart be touched by love. Weary and bored after so many years of existence, something finally surprises her — John Staunton, the Earl of Langley, a man who isn’t afraid to tell her no and who is rumored to be the biggest cad in England. Each finds the other an enigma, a puzzle waiting to be solved, and upon closer inspection they find themselves seeing each other for who they really are. Their attraction to one another only grows stronger as time passes and when John, who is actually a spy for the British government, is captured by Ashtiri, Beatrix must step up to the plate and confront the woman who was once raised as her sister.

The Burning by Susan SquiresThe Burning features a heroine, Ann Van Helsing, with psychic talents that allow her, through touch, to know a person’s entire life. Feared and reviled by the local populace, a lonely Ann takes to wandering the woods and caves near her home at night. On one fateful evening, she finds herself face to face with an injured vampire, Stephen Sincai, a born vamp on a personal quest to eliminate the “made” of his kind out of guilt over a failed experiment that unleashed Ashtiri on an unsuspecting world. In a moment of compassion, Ann touches him and forever alters their lives in ways they never dreamed.

Each book in this series leads into the next, or is at least tied in some way, resulting in a spanning tale of unique vampire lore. The concept of vampirisim being caused by a symbiotic “companion” is a brilliant bit of thinking.

As with One With The Night, there are parts of these books that are not for the faint of heart. I described Ashtiri as vile, and she is definitely that. She lives to subjugate men, making them sex slaves against their will and for her pleasure, as she pursues a plan of world domination. Ms. Squires, however, pulls it off without going overboard, and fires the stories with romance and love to counter the horrifying nature of the villainess. The bantering and byplay with the love interests is wonderfully consistent, and the dialog is superb. I enjoyed these first three entries in the series, but I personally felt the series really hit its stride with One With The Night. They’re all very well-written books, and Ms. Squires does not disappoint.

Have you read The Companion, The Hunger and/or The Burning? If so, feel free to post a comment here and let us know what you think!

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Our next book giveaway is a double with two brand new, autographed copies of Alexandra Ivy's When Darkness Comes, the first volume of the Guardian of Eternity series, up for grabs!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post sharing what your favorite pastime is "when darkness comes" … just keep it PG-rated, folks! As for me, I love curling up with a good book or watching a movie that suits my fancy.

We'll be taking entries through July 18th, with two lucky readers' names to be drawn from the hat on July 19th and announced here. We will inform said lucky readers by e-mail as well.  Be sure and read our official contest rules, too, for information on eligibility and such.

Good luck!

Oh, and don't forget to read our review of When Darkness Comes, or, if you've read the book already, feel free to post your own review in a comment to ours!

Congratulations to Michele, winner of the Great Gardella Giveaway! Thanks to all who participated in this fantastic giveaway.

Our current giveaway if for a free copy of Demon Moon by Meljean Brook. Check out how to put your name into the hat!

In conjunction with the launch of our forum, we've started a reading group/book club board and cordially invite you to join!

We'll have our first reading and discussion this next month (July), so now's the time to vote for which book you want to read and discuss! Simply join the forum then visit the "Start Reading" board and cast your vote for one of the three books (Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason, Demon Moon by Meljean Brook, or Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian) for July 2007, and also for August 2007. We'll be taking votes through June 25 for the July reading.

We're so looking forward to encouraging lively discourse on new and upcoming vampire romance books, and we hope that you'll participate and have a great time with us!

The talented Meljean Brook, author of The Guardians series, interrupted her deadline writing to answer a series of questions for VRB.com and we're sharing them with you!

Ms. Brook's latest release, due out this month, is entitled Demon Moon and features an unnaturally gorgeous vampire named Colin and the woman who draws him like no other, the delightfully enchanting Savi. Read our review of Demon Moon.

Ms. Brook, VRB.com wishes you all the best in your writing endeavors and issue our heartfelt thanks for your participation in our author interview series. Now, ladies (and possibly gents), an Interview with Meljean Brook.

Book Giveaway, too!

Be sure and read the interview then leave a comment on THIS post and you'll be entered into a giveaway for a copy of  Demon Moon! The entry period for this giveaway is through June 17, 2007, with a lucky reader's name to be drawn out of a hat on June 18. Said lucky reader will be notified by e-mail.

Be sure and read the book giveaway rules.

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